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NYC Says FDA Vaping Ban Has Major Flaws; Crafts Its Own Ban

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The federal government has officially taken a stand against the vaping epidemic that has swept through our city and the rest of the country. NYC officials, however, are pointing to the ban’s limitations and are glad to have their own law to fall back on. Photo Credit: Getty Images

By Ilana Siyance

The federal government has officially taken a stand against the vaping epidemic that has swept through our city and the rest of the country. NYC officials, however, are pointing to the ban’s limitations and are glad to have their own law to fall back on.

On Thursday, the Federal Food and Drug Administration placed a ban on flavored e-cigarettes, while it reviews the products. Unfortunately, the effort specifies “cartridge-based” rechargeable nicotine vaporizers with fruit and mint flavors. The products, especially those which were sold by Juul, were dangerously popular with high school and even middle school students. “Under this policy, companies that do not cease manufacture, distribution and sale of unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes (other than tobacco or menthol) within 30 days risk FDA enforcement actions,” the release stated.

As reported by the NY Post, the federal ban, however, fails to include disposables, including Puff Bar, Stig and Fogg which are also sold across the nation at convenience stores and gas stations.

Thankfully, New York City can depend on its own law, which will ban the sale of flavored vaping products, including disposables. The city law, which will take effect in July, prohibits “any refill, cartridge or any other component” of an e-cigarette. Mayor de Blasio signed the bill in mid-December, with the city council voting enthusiastically to approve it. Businesses caught selling the products will be fined up to $1,000 for the first offense. “Most dangerously they rolled out their products in every fruity, minty, candyish-flavor you can imagine and tragically all of that worked and today the estimate is that 5 million teenagers in the country are now locked in the grips of a nicotine addiction,” said City Councilman Mark Levine (D-Manhattan), who sponsored the bill.

The only caveat is that the NYC law only goes into effect later in the summer, while the FDA’s ban will begin in just 30 days. Juul has already stopped marketing its popular, blockbusting mint and other flavors in the US, before the ban was announced at the start of the year. Now, the company sells only tobacco and menthol.

“The United States has never seen an epidemic of substance use arise as quickly as our current epidemic of youth use of e-cigarettes,” said U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar. “By prioritizing enforcement against the products that are most widely used by children, our action today seeks to strike the right public health balance by maintaining e-cigarettes as a potential off-ramp for adults using combustible tobacco while ensuring these products don’t provide an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for our youth.”

The Post reported that over 2,700 people have been hospitalized for vaping-related illnesses in the country, as of late January. Roughly 240 people in NYS were treated, 40 of them from the boroughs of NYC, as per the state Health Department. Vaping has caused 60 deaths in the U.S., including at least four related deaths in New York State. One of the victims was a 17-year-old from the Bronx who had been using vaping cartridges containing THC.

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