Cuomo announces emergency executive action to ban sale of flavored e-cigarettesPosted: Updated:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that he's moving to ban the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes in the state, labeling it a public health emergency and accusing manufacturers of targeting young people.
"New York is confronting this crisis head-on, and today we are taking another nation-leading step to combat a public health emergency," Cuomo was quoted as saying in a press release from his office. "Manufacturers of fruit- and candy-flavored e-cigarettes are intentionally and recklessly targeting young people, and today we're taking action to put an end to it. At the same time, unscrupulous stores are knowingly selling vaping products to underage youth - those retailers are now on notice that we are ramping up enforcement and they will be caught and prosecuted."
Cuomo's office says that state Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker will hold an emergency meeting this week with the Public Health and Health Planning Council on the ban of flavored e-cigarettes.
Cuomo's office also says he is directing state police and the Department of Health to immediately partner to ramp up enforcement efforts against retailers who sell to underage youth, with the possibility of criminal penalties. And Cuomo says he will advance legislation to ban deceptive marketing of e-cigarettes to teens and children.
Earlier this month, Cuomo signed an order directing state agencies to launch education awareness programs on vaping and smoking cessation, and also directed the Department of Health to investigate companies that produce vaping substances.
It comes amid warnings from federal health officials that vaping could be dangerous. U.S. health officials have identified 380 cases of illness in 36 states and one territory, including six deaths. No single device or ingredient has been tied to all the illnesses, and officials say that many of those who were sickened said they'd been vaping THC.
Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.