In surprise decision, judge blocks New York vaping ban…for now
Late on Thursday, a New York appellate court issued a temporarily restraining order on Governor Cuomo’s executive action that aims to prohibit the sales of flavored vapes statewide. The ban was supposed to go into effect today, but it is now halted until at least October 18 when all parties are required to appear in front of the Supreme Court of Albany.
The lawsuit was filed by the Vapor Technology Association (VTA) in coordination with two vapor companies, Perfection Vapes and Benevolent E-liquids Inc. The plaintiffs argue that a statewide ban will threaten local businesses while simultaneously threatening the lives of tens of thousands of former smokers. Upon announcement of the ruling, VTA Executive Director Tony Abboud issued the following statement.
“We are very pleased with the New York State Appellate Division’s decision, which acknowledges the strength of our claims about the State’s executive overreach, and which preserves the ability of hundreds of small businesses to remain open and continue to serve their adult customers. The New York State Legislature, instead of enacting a flavor ban, already has decided to address concerns about youth vaping by raising the minimum age for vapor products from 18 to 21 and imposing a major tax increase. We continue to stand ready to work with the State of New York and all interested stakeholders on the many real solutions that should be implemented to achieve the twin goals of restricting youth vaping, which already is illegal, and preserving flavored alternatives for adults desperately trying to quit smoking.”
New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker remains confident that the emergency executive order will remain intact. However, the information surrounding the initial motivating factors behind Cuomo’s decision to ban flavor vapes has changed significantly in recent days.
A temporary reprieve New York vapers
It’s been over two months since mainstream media began reporting of a mysterious “vaping-related” lung disease that has allegedly infected a number of vapers in over 40 states. At first, the outbreak seemed to be confined to the Wisconsin area, but it apparently began to spread cross country. Then on September 11, President Trump held a press conference in the White House where he announced his intentions to ban flavored vapor products nationwide.
Even though the president would later walk back his assertions somewhat, Cuomo seized the moment. He used Trump’s declaration to push his own agenda: Kill the American vaping industry to favor two of his biggest financial contributors, Big Tobacco and Big Pharma.
But the “vaping-related” lung injuries were not related to the usage of conventional nicotine e-cigarettes. In fact, just last week The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finally acknowledged what officials at the Food and Drug Administration had known all along. In an October 3 press release, the CDC claims that Black Market THC-enhanced vapor products are responsible for at least 80 percent of the over 500 medical diagnoses.
To make the plaintiffs’ argument against the ban even stronger, there has also been a steady stream of news coming out of Wisconsin, the Ground Zero of the “vaping related“ scandal. To date, there have been four arrests in connection to an alleged drug ring operation involving the making and selling of some 50,000 illicit THC cartridges per day. The fourth person was captured only yesterday.
Will any of this new information matter to the New York Supreme Court? It may. In fact, it might have already played a significant role in the court’s decision to delay the Cuomo vaping ban.
But one thing is very clear. What happens in New York will have direct consequences in Michigan, Rhode Island, Ohio, California, and other states which have either implemented or are trying to implement similar anti-vaping legislation.
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