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Fans of mango, creme brulee, cotton candy, and hundreds of other flavored e-cigarettes are now out of luck in the Empire State, as the nation’s first statewide flavored vape juice ban was added to local law.
According to the New York Post, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an emergency executive action Monday afternoon to put the kibosh on flavored nicotine vape products. This was a direct response to the rash of vape-related illness that has hospitalized hundreds and killed at least 7, as well as reports of increased underage consumption of e-cig products like Juul.
“New York is not waiting for the federal government to act," Gov. Cuomo said in a statement, "and by banning flavored e-cigarettes, we are safeguarding the public health and helping prevent countless young people from forming costly, unhealthy, and potentially deadly life-long habits.”
The flavored e-cigarette ban will cover all e-juice products made to taste like anything other than tobacco or nicotine, and will be in effect for 90 days. During that period, Cuomo said that he hopes the state legislature will take up the issue and institute the ban permanently.
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In the meantime, New York smoke shops, vape stores, and bodegas will have a two-week grace period to remove all flavored e-cig products from their shelves. After that, any remaining outlawed product will incur a fine of $2,000 per unit. For Empire State vape advocates, the strict ban looks more like a death sentence.
"As soon as the ban goes into place, every vape shop in New York will be closed within 30 days, maybe less,” Spike Babaian, an analyst for the New York Vapor Association, told the New York Daily News.
But while health officials have largely tied the recent spate of vape-related hospitalizations and deaths to unregulated black market cannabis cartridges, flavored e-cigarettes have long been the target of parents and teenage health advocates who say vape products like Juul have targeted children with sweet and fruity flavors.
San Francisco made headlines when city officials banned the sale of Juul and other e-cigarettes earlier this summer, but New York will now become the first state to enact a flavor-specific ban.
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