Controversial Law Prohibits The Sale Of All Flavored Vapor Products Within The Empire State
Amid the chaos created by the coronavirus, the crisis has led to an array of bad actors exploiting the disaster for their own benefit. For vapers in the Empire State, their Governor has taken advantage of the state of affairs by forcing a ban on flavored vapor products into the state’s upcoming budget, which had additional pressure to pass given the current situation at hand.
On May 18th, a statewide ban on flavored vapor products went into effect following passage of the state’s budget in April. The Governor had previously attempted to pass the ban through executive order in September of last year, but that was struck down in New York State Supreme Court in January.
The ban is a complete statewide prohibition on all flavored vapor products, except for tobacco offerings. In addition to the flavor ban, all pharmacies, as well as stores containing pharmacies, are now prohibited from selling any non-therapeutic nicotine products, such as tobacco and vapor products.
Critics of the measure fear for the public health and economic ramifications of the measure, particularly during these trying times. Those who switched to vaping from smoking because of flavored offerings may find themselves going back to smoking, and the ban on products that make up a majority of vape shops’ revenue may force these small businesses to shutter.
Supporters of the measure state it is necessary to protect teens from access to vaping and potential nicotine addiction. While happy with the steps taken, these anti-vaping activists claim that complete prohibition is the only effective way to truly prevent teens from vaping.
Complete Flavor Ban
In New York State, a complete ban on all flavored vaping products went into effect on May 18th, 45 days after being signed into law. The prohibitive policy was added as a rider to the state’s larger budget bill for the upcoming fiscal year.
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s previous attempt at passing a similar ban by executive order last September was blocked by New York State Supreme Court Judge Catherine Cholakis in January. In her ruling, the judge stated the Governor and Public Health and Health Planning Council had overstepped their authority with the order, calling it unconstitutional and issuing an injunction.
In addition to the complete prohibition on flavored vapor products, pharmacies and stores containing them have been barred from carrying any non-therapeutic nicotine products. Retailers found in violation of either law are subject to a potential fine of up to $100 per item in question.
According to data from the Vapor Technology Association, the measure is set to shutter nearly 700 small mom-and-pop vape shops forcing over 6,000 people into unemployment during one of the worst economic periods in history. Additionally, the state is projected to face a near $680 Million budget shortfall as a result of the loss of tax revenue from these sales and businesses.
Anti-vaping activists and other supporters of the ban believe it is necessary to protect children and teens from potential nicotine addiction. Their claims come despite evidence finding that a majority of teenagers don’t actually vape, and that smoking rates are at historically low levels.
Truth About Vaping
Despite often repeated and overblown claims of youth vaping, research from the NYU School of Global Public Health discovered that most teens don’t actually vape. The study, published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, found that over 85% of teens do not vape at all, and the few that vape do not do so regularly.
Since their initial proposals, harm reduction experts and public health scholars have cautioned against flavor bans, noting they could deter current smokers from quitting and may turn former smokers back to cigarettes. A study from Yale University found that flavor bans result in limited options for e-cigarettes and an increased offering among cigarettes, which could deter smokers from quitting and turn quitters back into smokers.
Public health scholars and harm reduction experts have long cautioned against the dangers of prohibition and its unintended consequences. In an article published in the journal Science, a group of respected public health researchers came together to speak out against prohibitive policies and restrictive regulations targeting vaping. They note that there is no evidence that vaping is harmful, and that prohibitive policies will simply force smokers back toward tobacco or even black market alternatives.
Additionally, these respected experts also note vaping’s remarkable efficacy as a smoking cessation aid and tool. A study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that vaping was more effective than other nicotine-replacement therapies in helping adults both quit smoking and remain tobacco-free.
Not only does vaping continue to be demonstrated as an effective smoking cessation aid and reduced harm alternative to smoking, but current evidence indicates that there is no risk of harm from long-term usage. A study published by the National Academy of Sciences found that not only is vaping significantly less harmful than smoking, but there are currently no known long-term health effects associated with prolonged use, meaning lifetime vapers can breathe a sigh of relief.
Future Of Vaping
New York’s flavor ban represents the prime examples of both legislative overreach, as well as the idea of legislating from the shadows. Lawmakers met under lockdown to pass a bloated budget bill loaded with agenda-advancing riders and other provisions, with no public input or review. This type of shadow governance is a slap in the face to the democratic process and freedoms that we all hold dear.
Vapers in the state must stand in solidarity with the industry to push back against these kinds of prohibitive policies and other restrictive regulations. Lawmakers will continue to encroach on your freedoms the moment they are conceded, now is not the time for complacency and inaction.
What are your thoughts regarding New York’s complete flavor ban? How do you think the ban will impact the vaping industry and community in the Empire State moving forward? Let us know what you think 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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