New York City just became the first major city to ban most flavored E-Cigarettes in an effort to curb the use of vapes by underage teens. The ordinance is set to ban all e-cigarette and vaping liquid flavors sans tobacco.
New York City Votes Overwhelming to Ban E-Cigarettes
On Tuesday, the resolution was passed by the New York City council after a resounding 42 to 2 vote. The New York City Council Health Committee voted unanimously last night to remove the products, while 31 members of the City Council’s 51 members were signed on to the bill as co-sponsors.
According to Deputy Press Secretary Avery Cohen, New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio will sign the bill or let it pass into law.
“New York City is finally addressing a public health crisis which has been mounting for years while state and local governments across the nation did next to nothing. We are finally taking action to address the resurgence of youth nicotine addiction caused by e-cigarette usage,” City Council Health Committee Chair Mark Levine said in a Tuesday statement. “With this vote, the City Council is moving to ban the fruity, minty, candy-like flavors of e-cigarettes which were clearly designed to appeal to young people in the first place.”
The landmark bill comes on the heels of a string of vape-related lung incidents that have swept the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the mysterious lung disease has sickened more than 2100 people and killed an additional 42.
Previously, the Trump administration had plans to federally ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes when the epidemic first began. However, it appears the president has since backed off of such claims.
On the other hand, cities and states have taken the initiative into their own hands. The state of Michigan became the first state to ban flavored e-cigarettes back in September. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer believed the industry was unfairly targeting kids with their wide array of flavors.
“Bubble gum, fruit loops. These are flavors that are geared towards kids,” she said. “This is deceptive. This is destructive and most importantly it’s compromising our kids’ health.”
Last month, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors also unanimously agreed to ban flavored e-cigarette products after 100 people in California alone were hospitalized due to vape-related lung damage.
However, critics argue that such a ban is pointless, considering the majority of the vape-related lung illnesses came courtesy of black market THC cartridges, not regulated tobacco products. Vape New York owner Spike Babain told CBS2 New York that the ban will only harm those looking for an alternative to cigarettes.
“All of the lung conditions that have been caused, that have been confirmed, have been found to be caused by elicit market THC products that have elicit additives, they have contaminants in them,” Babain said. “That is not a product that we sell in our stores.”
Vape users also argue that the reason they prefer flavored tobacco is that they’re trying to get away from the taste of tobacco in the first place.
“That’s like asking an alcoholic to drink beer-flavored water,” the vape user said. “We don’t want to vape tobacco flavor, we’re trying to get away from it.”