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April 3, 2020
3 min to read

New York Bans Flavored Vaping Products With No Public Debate

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Jim McDonald

The New York State Assembly has passed a bill that will outlaw sales of flavored vaping products (except tobacco), and prohibit online sales of all vaping products. The bill was part of the larger budget bill that keeps the state running, and Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the vape ban into law immediately.

The state did not ban menthol cigarettes or flavored cigars—just vapor products.

The ban was passed with no public debate. As we reported earlier this week, the legislators mostly met by video conference. The online sales ban and a loophole that will favor JUUL and products made by tobacco companies were added with no opportunity for comment by citizens.

The law includes an exemption for flavored products approved for sale by the FDA through its Premarket Tobacco Application (PMTA) process. That was included after lobbying by either JUUL Labs or the tobacco companies that sell e-cigarettes (Reynolds, Japan Tobacco, Imperial). No vaping products have been approved by the FDA yet, and it isn’t known if the FDA will approve any flavored products.

The flavor ban will take effect 45 days after the governor signs it. The other parts of the law are effective July 1. They include:

  • Online sales of all vaping products are banned
  • Pharmacies are no longer allowed to sell any nicotine-containing product except FDA-approved cessation products
  • Coupons for vaping and tobacco products are banned
  • Manufacturers must post ingredient lists and detailed technical information about e-liquid and vapor constituents (this doesn’t apply to smoked tobacco products)
  • More than 10 percent of all U.S. residents will be prohibited from buying flavored vaping products when New York’s ban takes effect. New York will become the fourth state to ban flavors. Massachusetts prohibited all flavored products last November. New Jersey passed its ban in January, and Rhode Island followed last week. New York City passed a ban in December, but the new state law will take effect before the city’s. San Francisco was the first city to ban flavors, and then banned all vaping products last year. Many other California cities have passed bans on flavors or on all vaping products.

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    The flavor ban was proposed by the governor, who has earned national attention for his management of the terrible coronavirus epidemic in New York, has been a longtime opponent of vaping. He has supported flavor ban proposals in previous legislative sessions, but vaping consumers and business owners have successfully fought every attempt to ban flavors until now, when it was done during the cover of night with no opportunity to register opposition.

    Last fall, Cuomo directed the state health department to impose an emergency ban of flavored vaping products. That action that was first put on hold by the courts, and eventually struck down entirely.

    As trade organizations and advocates study the law, consider options and plot strategy, it’s important for vaping consumers to contact Gov. Cuomo and register their anger and disgust—not just with the ban itself, but with the process that silenced vapers' voices. CASAA has issued a call to action that puts the governor just a click away.

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    Jim McDonald

    Vaping since: 12 years

    Favorite products:

    Favorite flavors: RY4-style tobaccos, fruits

    Expertise in: Political and legal challenges, tobacco control haters, moral panics

    Jim McDonald

    Smokers created vaping without help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and I believe vapers have the right to continue innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I’m a member of the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy

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