Sept. 15 (UPI) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an emergency executive action Sunday to ban the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes in the state.
Cuomo also directed state police and the Department of Health to immediately partner to increase enforcement, including potential criminal, penalties against retailers that sell e-cigarettes to underage youth and announced he will move forward legislation to ban the marketing of e-cigarettes to children and teens.
“Manufacturers of fruit and candy-flavored e-cigarettes are intentionally and recklessly targeting young people and today we’re taking action to put an end to it,” Cuomo said. “At the same time, unscrupulous stores are knowingly selling vaping products to underage youth — those retailers are now on notice that we are ramping up enforcement and they will be caught and prosecuted.”
As part of the efforts to curb the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, police and the DOH will conduct undercover investigations across the state, involving enlisting youth to attempt to purchase e-cigarettes, and retailers who sell such products to underage individuals will face criminal and civil penalties.
“These regulations will help curb this dangerous trend and will further safeguard the health of all New Yorkers, especially among underage youths,” New York Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said.
Earlier this month, Michigan became the first state to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer saying she will also restrict marketing that portrays vaping products as “harmless.”
“As governor, I’m going to do it unilaterally until I can get the legislature to adopt a statute and write it into law,” she told MSNBC. “This is too important.”
Last week the Trump administration also said it will impose a ban on non-tobacco flavored e-cigarette products with a plan to eliminate “unauthorized” products from the market.
“While I like the vaping alternative to cigarettes, we need to make sure this alternative is safe for all!” Trump wrote on Twitter on Friday. “Let’s get counterfeits off the market and keep young children from vaping.”
The announcement earlier in the week prompted a response from Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, who said the group was “deeply disappointed” by the decision.
“In the history of the United States, prohibition has never worked. It didn’t work with alcohol. It hasn’t worked with marijuana. It won’t work with e-cigarettes,” said Conley.