By: Ilana Siyance
Following the tragic vaping-related illnesses and deaths that have recently come to light, New York State has banned all flavors of e-cigarettes, except tobacco and menthol. The announcement was made on Sunday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who declared a public-health crisis. “This is a burgeoning health crisis,” Cuomo said.
As reported by the NY Post, the proposed ban could be made effective as early as October 4th. The Governor’s swift call to action aims to precede the national response proposed by President Donald Trump.
Last Wednesday, the President, first lady, the acting commissioner of the FDA, and Alex Azar, the Health and Human Services Secretary held a meeting in the oval office, where the President spoke out about the dangers of having flavored e-cigarettes that seem to target youngsters. They proposed that the flavored e-cigarettes be temporarily taken off the market until federal health watchdogs can better evaluate and regulate them. “It’ll take several weeks for us to put out the final guidance that will announce all the parameters around the enforcement policy, and then there will likely be about a 30-day delay to effective date, as is customary,” Azar said. But “at that point all flavored e-cigarettes other than tobacco flavor would have to be removed from the market.”
Cuomo lost no time arguing that the response needs to be stronger. “I’m not relying or waiting on the federal government,” Cuomo said. “I don’t expect them to do anything responsibly because I’ve never seen them act responsibly.” He added, “Our destiny is in our own hands and we are taking action”.
Dr. Howard Zucker, Commissioner of the NYS Health Department, will formally prescribe the ban this week to the Public Health and Health Planning Council. Upon approval, retailers will only be given a two-week grace period before the ban is enforced.
Earlier this month Michigan became the first state to ban flavored e-cigarettes, and NYS is poised to follow as the second state. As of Friday, there have been over 450 cases of lung illness that may be associated with using e-cigarettes, reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention across 33 states and the US Virgin Islands. The figures have been fluctuating inexplicably.
Juul, the nation’s largest e-cigarette company, said it welcomes steps to keep kids from using its products. “We will review today’s announcement as we strongly agree with the need for aggressive category-wide action on flavored products,” said Juul spokesman Austin Finan. “That is why we already stopped selling our non-tobacco/non-menthol based JUULpods to traditional retail stores, are fighting against counterfeit and compatible products made with unknown ingredients under unknown manufacturing standards, and will fully comply with local laws and the final FDA policy when effective.”
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