Following the blocking of a previous ban by the New York State Supreme Court, Cuomo pushes onward with his anti-vaping agenda
Anti-vaping activists continue to try and advance their agenda despite a combination of legislative and academic challenges. Despite key legal battles preventing a prior ban attempt, the administration of one state pushes onward with its anti-vaping agenda.
An upcoming budget proposal in New York seeks to implement a series of prohibitive policies targeting vaping. The measure would ban the sale of all flavored vapor products, any advertising, as well as online sales and selling vapor products within pharmacies.
Harm reduction experts continue to caution that such broad bans are actually detrimental to public health at large by restricting access to a safe and effective smoking cessation device. Anti-vapers continue to claim that such measures are the only effective way to prevent teenage access to vapor products.
Cuomo’s previous ban implemented under executive order had been struck down due to legal challenges behind its implementation, with the ruling judge stating, “the emergency regulation is an impermissible administrative transgression into territory that is reserved to our Legislature by the state Constitution.” The new ban has been introduced as part of an upcoming budget proposal, where it would be subject to legislative scrutiny, unlike the executive order.
Proposed Prohibitive Policy
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new plans for a ban on flavored vapor products, despite having his prior arrangements for a ban on flavor vapor products blocked by the state Supreme Court. As mentioned, the new ban would prohibit the sales of all flavored vapor products, vaping-related advertising, all online and mail-order vapor sales, the sale of vapor products in pharmacies, as well as regulate the use of carrier oils in vapor products.
A similar ban was implemented under an executive order by Gov. Cuomo back in October but faced a series of legal and political challenges until eventually being blocked by the State Supreme Court. The ban was blocked due to issues with its implementation, with the ruling judge finding the emergency regulation to be an abuse of the executive branch.
The State Vaper Association has stated that the ban may lead to a public health disaster, sharing sentiments long echoed by harm reduction experts. In a statement, the association claimed that the flavor ban will not protect teens and will instead drive former smokers toward tobacco and the black market.
The Cuomo administration believes it has the legislative support and political backing needed to pass the new ban. “This is literally a matter of life and death, literally every day, more kids are getting addicted,” Cuomo said in a statement. “One way or the other, by April 1 this has to become law and there is no excuse for it.”
While Gov. Cuomo proclaims a fear-mongering narrative to advance his anti-vaping agenda, public health scholars and harm reduction experts alike agree that vaping benefits public health at large by keeping people away and off of cigarettes. They note that this major public health benefit vastly outweighs any potential concerns regarding vaping.
Several renowned public health scholars banded together, in a piece published in the journal Science, to speak out against prohibitive policies targeting vaping. These experts have found no evidence that vaping is harmful, and that bans such as Cuomo’s proposal may force users back to smoking or black market sources.
Vaping has been repeatedly demonstrated to be a more effective smoking cessation aid than traditional methods. For example, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that vaping is more effective than traditional nicotine-replacement therapies in helping people quit smoking and stay tobacco-free. Furthermore, a study from the University of Louisville found that vaping was the most effective form of smoking cessation, more than any other form.
Vaping has not only been proven to be the most effective form of smoking cessation but a significantly reduced harm alternative to tobacco as well. Research from Public Health England and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center found that vaping is 95% and 93% safer than smoking, respectively.
Governor Cuomo’s renewed push to prohibit vaping may represent a death knell for the vaping industry in New York. Such a measure may cost the state thousands of jobs and millions in lost tax revenue.
New York’s flavor ban, if passed, represents one of the most restrictive in the nation. Many vape shops throughout the state have been forced to shutter or rebrand as a result of the previous, less stringent ban alone.
Vapers and organizations throughout the state must stand together to help challenge such examples of legislative overreach. A combination of sustained civic engagement and informative public discourse serves as the best way to help secure the future of vaping in both the state and throughout the nation.
What are your thoughts regarding New York’s new flavor ban? How do you believe it will impact the industry and vapers in the state moving forward? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!
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