New York Vape Ban Set To Expire Before Being Enforced
Ongoing Litigation Has Stalled The State’s Flavor Ban So Long That It May Expire Before Even Being Enforced
The vaping industry has seen a chaotic couple of months amid prospects of a federal ban on flavored vapor products as well as several states enacting or attempting to enact regional flavor bans of their own. For one state, legal challenges may stall the emergency, and temporary ban before it even has an opportunity to be enforced by regulators.
Governor Cuomo of New York state issued a 90-day emergency ban on the sale of flavored vapor products citing concerns regarding outbreaks of various illnesses attributed to vaping illicit cannabis cartridges, as well as ongoing concerns of youth usage. In a swift response, organizations representing the industry filed litigation challenging the ban, where it has since been held up in the court system.
The vaping industry has defended the litigation as necessary to protect an industry largely comprised of independent small businesses living and working within our communities. A spokeswoman for the New York State Health Department has stated a key panel within the department is set to vote to renew the ban.
While not exactly a sweeping victory for the vaping industry, the delay in enforcement has allowed small mom-and-pop vape shops to continue operating as they figure out how to respond and adapt to the prospective ban should it hold up in court. This extra cushion time to prepare for the ban is crucial as these small businesses often rely heavily on flavored vapor products, which can make up as much as 85-95% of retail sales.
War On Vaping
On September 17th, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York State issued a 90-day emergency executive order temporarily banning the sale of flavored vapor products within the state to give regulators time to draft long-term solutions. In response, a lawsuit was filed by the Vapor Technology Association as well as a group of vape shop owners throughout the state, which ultimately halted enforcement of the ban while litigation was pending.
Jill Montag, Health Department Spokeswoman, has stated that a panel within the department is set to vote to renew the ban on December 12th. Regarding the renewal, Montag said she was “confident that the court will agree that this is a public health emergency demanding immediate action to help ensure the wellbeing of our children.”
In response to the vote, Tony Abboud, executive director of the Vapor Technology Association, said the state needed to “reevaluate its plan for issuing a second unlawful and misguided emergency rule banning flavors.” Following that, Abboud added, “The State is going to waste more taxpayer dollars and create a bigger public health crisis by driving people back to combustible cigarettes or to illegal sales in a new and larger black market.”
Abboud notes recent research from the National Youth Tobacco Survey that indicates flavors aren’t the reason teens try vaping, with simple curiosity and a drive for experimentation cited as the most common reasons. Indeed claims about a so-called teenage vaping epidemic tend to be dramatically overblown, and reactionary regulation such as flavor bans only tends to harm adult smokers looking to quit as opposed to protecting a group that isn’t even really vaping, to begin with.
Facts On Vaping
As mentioned above, recent research indicates that claims of flavors enticing teens to vape may be dramatically overstated by anti-vaping activists. According to the most recent National Youth Tobacco Survey, over half of the teens who tried vaping cited being curious about them as the reason for attempting, with less than a quarter saying they wanted to sample the flavors.
Flavor bans such as the one in New York state only tend to prevent adult smokers from accessing a proven and effective smoking cessation device as opposed to protecting minors. Indeed, research from the University of Louisville found vaping to be the most effective smoking cessation device available, even more than quitting cold-turkey or other alternatives.
In addition to vaping’s remarkable efficacy in smoking cessation, vaping has routinely been demonstrated to be less harmful than tobacco. A landmark study from Public Health England found vaping to be 95% safer than smoking, a figure the country’s top public health agency routinely defends.
Furthermore, there is no evidence of any long-term risk to users of e-cigarettes and other vapor products. The National Academy of Sciences found that not only is vaping less harmful than smoking but that there were no long-term health effects associated with prolonged usage.
Although the Health Department is slated to vote to renew the ban, that doesn’t mean the end of the vaping industry in the state. As litigation is ongoing, the renewed ban will remain suspended until the case is concluded, giving the industry time to adapt and work with regulators on drafting long-term regulations beneficial to all parties.
Members of the vaping industry and community have long lobbied for common sense compromises that prevent teen access to vapor products such as raising the minimum age of purchase statewide to 21. These groups claim this measure would be far more effective at preventing teen vaping than arbitrarily restricting flavors used more often by adult smokers than teenagers.
These reactionary forms of regulation are a prime example of government overreach, and only threaten to put hard-working, taxpaying stores out of business and restrict adult smokers access to the most effective smoking cessation device available. The industry and community must continue to remain civically engaged in pushing back against such heavy-handed regulations.
How do you feel about the legal challenges New York’s flavor ban has encountered? Do you think this will change things elsewhere? What’s the best way to fight back for vaping? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!
(Image Credit – Pixabay – https://pixabay.com/images/id-165736/)