New York ban on flavored vapes takes effect on July 1; even online sales banned

With less than one week before Governor Andrew Cuomo’s flavor ban goes into full effect, New York vapers are scrambling to stock up on supplies.  After several legislative attempts, including a failed executive order and multiple court hearings, the ban officially became legal when the governor slipped it through as a line item in the $117 million New York budget bill S. 7506.  Both houses of the state congress approved the budget last May. 

As of July 1, any retailer caught selling flavored vaping products of any kind may be subjected to a $100 fine per product.  The legislation will apply to the pod-style vapes like JUUL which President Trump had already banned at the federal level last December.  In addition, all closed-system flavored products including separately bottled e-liquids will also be forced from store shelves.

CASAA issues update about New York flavor ban

Using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse, New York also took a political pass once again on the legalization of marijuana.  According to Gov. Cuomo, creating a statewide management plan for legal weed while simultaneously preparing for an ongoing battle with the COVID-19 virus was “too much” to handle at this time.  Reason Magazine puts it this way:

“The coronavirus isn't just an excuse to implement bad policies with little or no debate. Officials can also use the situation to abandon good reforms.
“They do both in New York's new $117 billion budget, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed in the middle of the state's continued COVID-19 disaster…The budget implements a number of bad regulations while abandoning or scaling back some good ones. And the whole budget was hammered out behind closed doors and passed with very little discussion or debate."

Related Article:  New JAMA study shows changes in public perception of vaping vs smoking

With the passage of the flavor ban legislation, New York will officially become the fourth state in the union to put into place such harsh regulations on the vapor industry. According to the nation’s leading vaping advocacy organization The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA), any product which has received federal approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of a Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA) will be exempt from the ban.  Other ramifications of the New York flavor ban include:

      • Online purchases are banned, but sales of vaping devices and individual components (coils, tanks, and such) can continue. This exemption is supposedly because tobacco flavors will remain legal.
      • For out-of-state vendors, the penalty for selling or shipping a flavored vaping product to any New York vaper is now considered a Class A misdemeanor which carries a maximum $5,000 fine or a $100 fine per vapor product.
      • Pharmacies can no longer sell any tobacco, nicotine, or vape products that are not already FDA-approved as a smoking cessation aid. This regulation means that all vapes are out (PMTA approval or not), and only Big Pharma products like nicotine patches, gums, and lozenges can remain.
      • Vapers cannot be arrested for simply carrying flavored e-liquids, but the maximum allowable for on-person transport is 3 grams of nicotine or 500 milliliters of flavored vape juice.
      • All promotional campaigns and discount coupons for flavored vapes are also prohibited.
      • Advertisements of vapes, tobacco, and nicotine products are now prohibited from display within 1500 ft of all schools within the state.  In New York City, the threshold is 500 ft.
      • Manufacturers of tobacco, nicotine, and vapor products must also adhere to stricter labeling requirements.

While several scientific studies indicate that flavor bans on vaping products will likely increase the the chances of adult vapers returning to Big Tobacco smoking, Cuomo and the New York legislature is pushing forward.  The new fiscal budget does allow for the legal use of e-scooters throughout the state though, so there’s that.

Related Article:  Public health expert accuses CDC of ‘concealing and suppressing’ vaping data

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)


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