NEW YORK, NY — Approximately one hour ago, unelected members of the New York State Department of Health’s Public Health and Health Planning Council (PHHPC) voted to pass an “emergency” measure to ban the sale of vaping products in flavors other than menthol, tobacco, and unflavored for the next 90 days. This came after dozens of vape shop owners and individual consumers testified before the committee and pleaded with the members to not shut down the state’s vape businesses.
Of the members of the PHHPC who voted, only Dr. Howard S. Berliner (Director of Health Policy for the Service Employees International Union) and Dr. Glenn Martin (an associate dean at Mount Sinai School of Medicine) voted no. Before voting no, Dr. Martin explained, “I’m sorry, I’m just not convinced this is an emergency” and noted that the Department of Health was essentially conducting a “big public health experiment.”
According to the measure, the ban will not go into effect until it is filed with the Department of State, but the Department of Health previously indicated enforcement will not begin for about two weeks. After 90 days, the emergency measure will expire and it will have to be passed again by the PHHPC to remain effective.
The New York State Vapor Association estimates 700 vapor-focused businesses throughout New York could be closed because of this ban.
Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association, a nonprofit that advocates for sensible regulation of vaping products, released the following statement:
“Prohibition has never worked in this country and it will once again fail miserably in the State of New York. There is blood on the hands of the unelected bureaucrats who fiddled with their phones while members of the public explained how this ban would cause disastrous public health consequences. Make no mistake about, a flavor ban will send a significant number of adult vapers back to smoking, which is an outcome that even the American Cancer Society recently said would be disastrous.
“There is a reason why the majority of adult ex-smokers who vape use fruit and sweet flavors, while only a very small portion use tobacco or menthol. Fruit and sweet flavors help adult smokers disconnect from the taste of smoking. Tobacco flavors, on the other hand, are actually linked to dual use, which is continuing to use both cigarettes and vaping products.
“A ban on flavored vaping products will do absolutely nothing to address the very real and immediate public health emergency of contaminated marijuana oil cartridges sending New Yorkers to the hospital. New York bureaucrats and Gov. Cuomo have learned nothing about the reality of prohibition from these illnesses. Just like with marijuana, banning flavored vaping products is not going to reduce usage, but will instead push people to black and gray markets.
“We have a message for the vapers of New York — please do not relapse to smoking. Visit your local vape shop and find out what their plans are. If it comes to it, there is nothing illegal about you as a consumer importing products into the state. If you look hard enough, you will find a vaper outside New York willing to risk jail time to make sure craven unelected bureaucrats aren’t allowed to send you back to smoking.
“In the end, today’s vote was not about health. It was about protecting $1 billion a year in New York cigarette tax revenue. We look forward to supporting litigation to overturn this illegal and harmful ban.”
About the American Vaping Association
The American Vaping Association is a nonprofit organization that advocates for fair and sensible regulation of vapor products, otherwise known as electronic cigarettes, with the goal of maximizing the number of adult smokers who use these products to quit smoking. The AVA was founded by Gregory Conley, a consumer and industry advocate with a long track record of advocating for vapor products dating back to 2010.
We are dedicated to educating the public and government officials about public health benefits offered by vapor products, which are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine or nicotine-free solution and create an inhalable vapor. The AVA is not a trade group and does not speak for any particular businesses, including our industry sponsors.