Cuomo announces executive action to ban flavored e-cigarettes

Flavored e-cigarette tobacco products could be banned in New York as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) effort to curb what health officials have deemed a growing epidemic among teens. 

Cuomo announced the ban Sunday as part of an emergency executive action. 

"New York is confronting this crisis head-on and today we are taking another nation-leading step to combat a public health emergency," Cuomo said in a statement. "Manufacturers of fruit and candy-flavored e-cigarettes are intentionally and recklessly targeting young people, and today we're taking action to put an end to it."

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Additionally, Cuomo said state police and the New York State Department of Health will conduct undercover investigations across the state to see if retailers are selling vaping products to underage people. 

It’s the latest move by Cuomo’s administration as the governor amps up executive action to limit youth vaping.

He directed the Health Department to launch an investigation into companies that produce vaping substances last week.

In July, Cuomo signed a bill that raises the legal age to buy such products to 21. The legal age had been 18. The law is effective Nov. 13. 

The Department of Health estimated that nearly 40 percent of 12th grade students and 27 percent of high school students in New York are using e-cigarettes. 

State officials attribute the high number of young users to the flavored products. 

“E-cigarettes have been implicated as a key indicator in the upward trend of the use of tobacco products among youths in recent years. These regulations will help curb this dangerous trend and will further safeguard the health of all New Yorkers, especially among underage youths,” said Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. 

Cuomo’s announcement comes as vaping products have been under fire on the national level as well.  

President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Lawmakers dismiss Chinese retaliatory threat to US tech MORE last week said his administration is seeking to ban all nontobacco flavors of e-cigarettes as youth vaping increases across the country.