Empire State Flavor Ban Takes Effect
Governor Exploits Crisis To Advance Anti-Vaping Agenda As Vapers And Vape Shops Brace For Impact.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has been leveraging the coronavirus crisis to advance his own administrative agenda even with pressing public health matters at hand. Despite dealing with the global epicenter of the pandemic, the governor is choosing to focus part of his time and efforts on restricting vaping.
The total ban on flavored vapor products took effect Monday, May 18th, 45 days after signing his proposed budget into law. In addition to the flavor ban, there are a number of additional nicotine-focused and anti-vaping measures that are set to take effect on June 1st.
Key among them, and less discussed, is a complete prohibition on online e-liquid purchases within the state. Additionally, pharmacies will no longer be able to sell any nicotine-containing product that is not an approved smoking cessation therapy.
While there is an additional number of anti-vaping provisions loaded into the bill, these are the key measures that are most likely to directly impact vapers themselves. Enforcement begins the same day the laws take effect, with violators facing prospective fines of up to $100 PER prohibited item.
Anti-vaping advocates claim the prime example of legislative overreach will protect teens from accessing and using vapor products. Members of the vaping industry and community fear for the future of the industry within the state, believing that the jobs of thousands and lives of millions may potentially be at stake due to such short-sighted regulations.
On April 3rd, Albany lawmakers gathered in the shadows to pass Senate Bill S7506B, an omnibus budget bill. The bill contains several agenda-driven provisions that have no material impact on the upcoming fiscal year, such as multiple anti-vaping measures.
One of the key provisions included in a bill is a complete ban on flavored vaping products, set to take effect 45 days after being signed into law, or May 18th. Additionally, the bill also completely prohibits any online sales of vape juice within the state and bars pharmacies from carrying any nicotine-containing products that aren’t approved smoking cessation therapies.
Mike Kruger, Capital District Director of New York State Vapor Association, fears the bill is going to effectively destroy the vaping industry in the state while simultaneously boosting sales for big tobacco companies. “It’s very hard to tell what the consumer’s going to do. I can tell you, over the past 45 days since we’ve been waiting on this to go into effect,” Kruger told reporters, “I’ve had a lot of customers tell me that they’re going to eventually go back to smoking.”
Kruger’s statements echo sentiments shared by the Vapor Technology Association as well. “New York’s statewide ban on flavored vapor products will close most of the 694 small mom and pop vape shops, throw 6,000 more New Yorkers out of work, and add another $680M wrench in the state’s budget crisis. In addition to the serious negative economic impacts of the flavor ban, New York lawmakers are forcing adults who rely on vapor products as their alternative to cigarettes back to traditional smoking or to the dangerous black market”, said Tony Abboud, Executive Director of the organization.
However, anti-vaping activists continue to contend that the bill is a net win for the state at large. Judy Rightmyer, Director of Capital District Tobacco-Free Communities, states that the ban is more about preventing youth access than restricting adult access, failing to distinguish how the former isn’t going to directly impact the latter.
Truth About Vaping
We live in the midst of a sustained war against vaping led by hysteria and misinformation. Yet, we face the very real threat of a global smoking epidemic responsible for taking 8 million lives each year. According to CDC data, there are an estimated 38 million smokers in the United States alone, 16 million of which currently face some form of smoking-related illness.
Current research indicates that vaping may be our greatest asset in the war against vaping. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that vaping was more effective than traditional nicotine-replacement therapies in aiding smoking cessation.
That only adds to the wealth of information highlighting the promise vaping provides in helping thousands of adult smokers quit annually. According to research from University College London, vaping is responsible for helping up to 70,000 British smokers quit in 2017 alone.
Not only is vaping remarkably effective in aiding smoking cessation, but there is an extensive body of research establishing vaping as a reduced-harm alternative to tobacco. Landmark research from Public Health England concluded that vaping was, in fact, 95% safer than smoking, a figure the agency has maintained and defended for over half a decade.
New York’s statewide series of vaping bans may be the final nail in the coffin for an industry under constant and ever-changing regulatory scrutiny, and that has been heavily impacted by the state’s lockdown orders amid the pandemic. Additionally, the health of millions of New Yorkers is currently at risk due to a lack of access to alternatives to tobacco amid the heightened stress of the trying times we all face.
Members of the Empire state’s vaping industry and community must stand and band together against such prohibitive policies. The state is intentionally throwing the future of public health and the economy into serious jeopardy, and all in the name of advancing moral-driven agendas set to appeal to soccer moms ahead of the election cycle.
What are your thoughts regarding New York’s series of prohibitive policies finally taking effect? How do you think these measures will impact vapers and vape shops throughout the Empire State? As always, we would love to know what you think in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest and greatest vaping news and reviews!
(Image Credit – Pixabay – https://pixabay.com/images/id-978262/)