On Sunday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo minced no words about his feelings regarding the impact the vaping industry is having on the youth of New York. “Vaping is dangerous, period,” the governor stated at the beginning of his press conference to announce the state’s new policies pertaining to vaping products.
New York will now join Michigan, banning the sale of all flavored vaping products. These products are believed to directly target young users and Governor Cuomo seems to agree, telling the press “These are obviously targeting young people.”
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker called the issue a “health crisis” and said the time for action was now. He noted that the number of cases of lung illness believed to be caused by vaping has already risen, “we’ve gone from 49 cases to 64 cases in just New York.” This rise in vaping related illnesses mirrors a trend that is being seen throughout the country.
Along with the New York flavor ban, Governor Cuomo announced the state will raise the tobacco usage age from 18 to 21 and the state police will be working with the Department of Health to begin cracking down on any retail outlets that sell to underage customers. He warned that violating establishments will not only be subject to fines, but would be in danger of losing any other state licenses that they had such as lottery or liquor licenses.
The state will also pass a law that prohibits the marketing of all nicotine products to youth. The new regulations will still allow tobacco flavor and menthol flavor vaping products in an attempt to help cigarette smokers that are using it as a last resort to quit smoking.
Cuomo also cautioned citizens to look at history, noting the scenario that’s playing out across the country now is very similar to the tobacco epidemic. Vaping companies are introducing an addictive substance, nicotine, to young users who become addicted and, ultimately, their best customers. “It’s the tobacco cigarette model all over again,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo felt action must be taken and is not relying on the Federal Government to lead the way, commenting “Where’s the federal government? Who knows? I’m not waiting for the federal government to protect the people of New York.”
Cuomo acknowledged these companies and their lobbies have a great deal of political power and federal action may be slowed by that. New York apparently will not be. Cuomo stated, “Our destiny is in our hands and we’re taking action.”