A statewide ban on most e-cigarette flavors went into effect Monday, part of an effort from Gov. Cuomo to stem a recent rise in vaping-related illnesses in New York and much of the rest of the country.
“New York is not waiting for the federal government to act," Cuomo said in a statement, "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.”
But the ban on every vape flavor except menthol and tobacco will choke an industry of mostly mom-and-pop shops, protests the New York State Vapor Association.
"As soon as the ban goes into place, every vape shop in New York will be closed within 30 days, maybe less,” Spike Babaian, an analyst for the trade group, told the Daily News.
“We can’t afford to be closed or not sell a product that makes up 90% of what we sell,” she added.
Babaian said the ban will push many vape users back to cigarettes ?— and create a black market for those still craving flavored e-cigs.
“Now people are going to be using flavored e-liquid that their friend makes in the bathroom,” she said.
The ban comes amid a rise in reports of vaping-related illnesses and even deaths around the country, with President Trump recently saying he was considering a crackdown.
But Babian said the pols are picking on the wrong guys, contending the illnesses come from products not regulated by the feds.
“They are banning an entire category that has nothing to do with these illnesses,” she said.
As of last week, more than 450 possible cases of vaping-related illnesses had been reported nationwide, with six resulting in death, according to the Associated Press.
The New York State Vapor Association says it reps 700 shops with 2,700 hundred employees comprising a $539 million industry.
Meanwhile Tuesday, an anti-vaping campaign called Flavors Hook Kids NYC planned to launch an ad campaign this week supporting City Council legislation to ban menthol and other flavors of e-cigs. They’re sending 100,000 pieces of mail the New Yorkers and running radio spots on Power 105, Z100, WABC and other stations.
“Tobacco comes in every flavor, and it’s delicious!” a creepy voice tells a group of kids above ice-cream truck music in the radio spot.