Statewide bans on flavored e-cig sales, tobacco in pharmacies take effect

Two new statewide laws took effect Monday banning the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and the sale of tobacco in pharmacies. 
?Pharmacies and retail stores with pharmacies inside them can no longer sell cigarettes or other tobacco products. And a second law bans the sale of all flavored vaping products, except for tobacco-flavored, in all stores statewide.

Advocates say the measures are good public health policy that will reduce access to the items, particularly preventing teens from getting their hands on tobacco at an early age.

Opponents argue that e-cigarettes in particular help them quit smoking traditional tobacco products and call this government overreach.

Pharmacies are starting to adjust to the changes, including Larchmont Pharmacy, which is removing its packs as directed by the government.
"We've always been on the fence about carrying them or not carrying them so we've always kept it off to the side, down low. This way if people want them it's there, but we're not promoting it. So, if people want it we have it but at this point, if the government is saying we can't sell it then we'll obviously have to follow the law," says Doug Kristensen, owner of Larchmont Pharmacy.

More than one-quarter of all high schoolers vape, according to the CDC.

“Big tobacco calls them their ‘replacement smokers.’ It’s the only market that they actually have to replace their consumers because eventually, they will pass,” says Meghan Dubois O’Connor, director of Pow’R Against Tobacco.

Opponents argue the ban limits the choices adult smokers’ have when trying to quit.

“One of those options is going back to cigarettes and the other is finding the products that they have been reliant on and needing on the black market,” says Tony Abboud, executive director of the Vapor Technology Association.

Health experts warn COVID-19 could be more serious for those who smoke in addition to the negative health conditions they already face.
Anyone caught violating the e-cigarette law faces a $100 fine for each package of flavored vapor product.