New York bans flavored e-cigarettes

New York bans flavored e-cigarettes
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New York on Tuesday implemented a statewide ban on flavored e-cigarette products amid rising concern over lung disease linked to vaping.

The ban comes after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) directed the New York State Department of Health to investigate companies that produce vaping substances. The probe found that nearly 40 percent of 12th grade students and 27 percent of high school students in New York are using e-cigarettes.

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“It is undeniable that vaping companies are deliberately using flavors like bubblegum, Captain Crunch and cotton candy to get young people hooked on e-cigarettes - it's a public health crisis and it ends today,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“New York is not waiting for the federal government to act, 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,” he added.

Michigan has issued a similar ban, though it has not officially gone into effect. The Wolverine State’s ban was stricter, as it banned all flavors. New York exempts tobacco and menthol, though Dr. Howard Zucker, the state's commissioner of health, will evaluate a ban on menthol and offer a recommendation within 14 days. 

The Health Department’s investigation found that 19 percent of adolescents using vaping products said flavors were the reason they first tried e-cigarettes and that 27 percent said the flavors were the reason they kept using the products. 

Cuomo said health officials will provide retailers a grace period before conducting visits to enforce the ban starting on Oct. 7.

The bans come amid nationwide fears over vaping use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this month announced that it identified 380 confirmed or probable cases of lung disease associated with e-cigarettes. Six people in six different states have died so far.

“While the investigation is ongoing, the CDC has advised that individuals consider not using e-cigarettes because as of now, this is the primary means of preventing lung disease,” Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman, an incident manager with the CDC, said earlier this month.

While patients in a majority of the cases thus far reported using e-cigarette products containing elements of marijuana, including THC, others have contained nicotine.

The Trump administration last week announced it is seeking to ban all nontobacco flavors of e-cigarettes to combat the spike in teen vaping. 

“We can’t have our youth be so affected,” President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE said. “People are dying with vaping, so we’re looking at it very closely.”