On the political heels of the Proposition E upset in San Francisco just days ago, New York lawmakers are also looking to pass state legislation that will effectively ban the sales of flavored e-liquids. The bill does not simply attempt to make the sales of flavored e-liquids more difficult. It is a full-fledged ban.
And once again, the misguided reasoning behind such aggressive legislative proposals is the alleged protection of young children from the dangers of tobacco addiction. Never mind that the e-liquids of vaping devices are 100 percent tobacco-free, elected officials like Senator Kemp Hannon are still lumping vaping into the same category as smoking. The official justification for the Hannon-sponsored Senate Bill S8610 includes the following statement.
“While conventional cigarette use has declined, electronic cigarette use is on the rise- especially amongst adolescents and young adults. According to a 2016 report by the U.S. Surgeon General, young adult users of e-cigarettes (ages 18 through 24) are much more likely to use flavored e-cigarettes than users over the age of 25. The Surgeon General also reported that the majority of youth who have tried e-cigarettes first used a flavored product. In these surveys, youth noted flavoring as one of their biggest draws to trying electronic cigarettes, in addition to curiosity and a perceived lower risk when compared to traditional tobacco products.”
The bill also takes aim at the “colorful packaging” and enticing flavors” that e-liquid manufacturers sometimes utilize in their marketing strategies. It also states that “tobacco companies” have been using such “creative tactics” for decades as a way to entice young people and get them hooked on smoking at a very early age. Vaping advocates argue that because e-liquids contain no tobacco, the risks of teens transitioning to smoking from vaping are miniscule. In fact, several reputable research studies have successfully proven this point already, including a recent report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
If S8610 becomes law, retailers caught selling their products in New York could face fines of up to $50,000 per brand or style of product offered or sold. Meanwhile, individual vapers caught purchasing flavored e-liquids would be forced to pay a $100 fine for each package of flavored e-liquid in their possession.
This is not New York’s first fight over flavored vaping
Bill S8910 is not the first attempt to ban flavored e-liquid purchases in New York. Senator Hannon has tried many times over the past couple of years to introduce similar legislation, but his attempts have been unsuccessful. When San Francisco passed Prop E on June 6 and confirmed that a flavor ban would become municipal law, politicians like Hannon saw this as a window of opportunity to try once again.
In June 2017, State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) began pushing for a similar bill A8688 which exempts tobacco and menthol flavors from the proposed flavor ban. The Rosenthal bill has already been approved by a slim margin of 14-12 by the Health Committee. Both bills are still in the works, and vaping advocacy groups like Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternatives Association (CASAA) are issuing urgent Calls-to-Action to help stop the New York flavor ban through activism at the grass roots level.
Related Article: Sheep Alert: Manhattan Dem wants to ‘copycat’ flavor ban on vaping