© Press Association

New York Plans Flavored E-Cigarettes Ban, FDA May Follow Nationwide

November 09, 2018 - 9:05 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) — An explosion in the number of teens vaping has led New York to propose banning flavored e-cigarettes.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes as soon as next year, possibly making New York the first state to prohibit such vaping products often marketed as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes.
A spokesman for the Democratic governor told The Wall Street Journal his administration would soon republish regulations banning the sale or possession of flavored e-cigarettes. The regulations could then be adopted after a 60-day period of public comment.

The state Department of Health posted the regulations on Wednesday but rescinded them to allow additional time for legal review. 
Spokesman Rich Azzopardi said Cuomo "is very concerned about the rise in youth e-cigarette use.'' Vaping is illegal for minors in many states, but students say they can buy them online or from adults.

According to the New York State Health Department, teen vaping has more than doubled in the past four years from 10 to 27 percent. Nationwide it's believed 3.5 million children are using e-cigarettes that come in flavors like apple, mango and chocolate.

"JUULs are all over our schools and worse, people are assuming they are safe," Westchester Congresswoman Nita Lowey said at a congressional hearing earlier this year, pointing out that one pod contained as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.

But Michael Frennier of the New York State Vapor Association, representing hundreds of vape shops, says a ban will only help the tobacco industry.

"If you kill the flavors and you make people go back that are trying to stay off cigarettes and the only thing they can vape is something that tastes like an ashtray, they are going to go back smoking," he said. "The truth is that electronic cigarettes have helped close to 10 million people get off cigarettes."

The ban would not include menthol or tobacco flavored e-cigarettes.

New York's proposed ban comes as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration plans to announce details of a nationwide ban in stores next week.

FDA officials told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that the plans would include requiring strict limits on the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes, including age verification controls for online sales, in an effort to curtail their use among children and teenagers. The move is an attempt to curb what many are saying is an epidemic of underage vaping.

"What I can't tolerate is another year of this level of growth," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in an interview Wednesday.

The new policy will apply to flavored cartridge-style vaping products like Juul that have become popular among youths, not the open tank-style systems sold in vape shops and mostly used by adults, officials said.

No retail outlets will be allowed to carry them unless it restricts minors from entering the store or creates an off-limits area.

Since 2017, FDA officials had discussed e-cigarettes as a potential tool to wean adult smokers off cigarettes, but in September the FDA reversed course and warned the industry to address the problem of surging teenage e-cigarette use or risk having their flavored products pulled off the market.

Gottlieb said then that the agency did not predict an "epidemic addiction" among youth, mainly driven by flavored products.

The FDA's new restrictions were earlier reported by The Washington Post.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report)