A group of concerned parents and their teenage children gathered in lower Manhattan this week to rally against the nicotine vaporizer company Juul. The protesters say flavored e-juice pods appeal directly to young people, and have caused a teen vaping “epidemic.”

According to concurrent reports from Gothamist and CBS2, Tuesday’s protest was led by the group Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes (PAVE), and focused on a New York City Council bill currently working its way through the legislature. If passed, the bill would ban the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes in New York City, including Juul’s mint flavored e-juice pod.

“Flavored e-cigarettes give big tobacco free reign to hook a generation of children on nicotine products,” a spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio told Gothamist. “It’s time we say enough is enough, and do our part to protect the health and safety of our children.”

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Dorian Fuhrman, a co-founder of PAVE and the mother of a 16-year-old who had to go through nicotine withdrawals to kick his Juul habit, called vaping a “youth epidemic” and said that flavored pods and e-juices have led directly to increases in teen nicotine addiction. 

Juul has already removed its Creme and Mango flavored pods from retail stores in response to claims that the brand was marketing to teens, but the company still sells its mint flavor across the country.

At the NYC protest, parents also bemoaned a new report by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) that investigated the vape-related hospitalization of more than 100 young Americans over the last month, with 11 of those cases reported in New York. To counter those claims, a group of counter-protesting, pro-vape supporters said those cases were most likely caused by counterfeit or contaminated THC vape cartridges.

And while New York City’s proposed e-cig flavor ban could have a significant impact on companies like Juul and their customers — both legal and underage — the legislation is nowhere near the nation’s strictest. In San Francisco, city officials recently banned all nicotine vaporizers, ending e-juice and pod sales throughout the city. 

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