NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Flavored e-cigarettes, popular among teens, may soon be pulled from stores in New York State.
Selling e-cigarettes to minors is already prohibited, but the state health department says youth vaping has more than doubled since 2014.
The Cuomo administration would reportedly still allow the sale of unflavored products, less popular with kids.
The move would make New York the first state to prohibit flavored e-cigarettes.
“As the governor previously said, he’s very concerned about the rise in youth e-cigarette use and this administration is looking to do everything it can to curb this emerging public health issue,” a spokesperson for the governor said Friday.
It’s not just the state looking to set restrictions – the U.S. Food and Drug Administration plans to announce changes as early as next week.
The New York State Vapor Association has vowed to fight back, saying this ban would force most vape shops to close their doors or eliminate jobs since the vapor flavors make up more than 80 percent of their sales.
The State Health Department says youth vaping has more than doubled since 2014, but Cheryl Richter with the Vapor Association says they need to come up with a better solution.
“No one addresses the fake ID problem,” said she said. “Kids get their hands on all sorts of age restricted problems.”
The association also points out people would go back to smoking traditional cigarettes, since vaping is intended as a less harmful alternative to smoking.
“They are just going to get kids addicted to tobacco, waste their money and ruin their health,” said Roberta Daskin of Yonkers.
There are more than 150 e-liquid flavors on the shelves at Michael Bowers’ shop in Yonkers, but all around Vape Cave Y-O are signs about age restrictions on who can buy them
“Age verification definitely needs to be enforced,” said Bowers.
In the three years he’s been open, he says city officials haven’t tested his store to see if they were selling to minors. He believes that’s the problem and a total ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes is not the answer.
Most flavored e-cigarettes could be banned in convenience stores and gas stations, but the projects would still be available in vape and tobacco shops. The FDA may also impose age verification requirements for online sales.
A state ban could be put in place as soon as next year. There would be a public comment period beforehand.