New York Governor Takes Emergency Executive Action Banning Flavored E-Cigarettes

An electronic cigarette user

ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an emergency executive action to prohibit the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes in New York.

Following this action on Sept. 15, state Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Howard Zucker will hold an emergency meeting with the Public Health and Health Planning Council (PHHPC) this week on the pending ban.

In addition, Cuomo directed the New York State Police and DOH to immediately partner to ramp up enforcement efforts against retailers who sell to underage youth, with the possibility of criminal penalties.

The governor will also advance legislation to ban deceptive marketing of e-cigarettes to teens and children. 

"New York is confronting this crisis head-on and today we are taking another nation-leading step to combat a public health emergency," Cuomo said. "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," he added.

Retail Inspections & Underage Sales

The state police and DOH are joining forces to conduct undercover investigations across the state under The Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act (ATUPA), which enlists underage youth to attempt to buy tobacco and e-cigarette products.

Retailers found selling tobacco and vaping products to underage individuals will now face criminal penalties in addition to civil penalties.

These inspections and compliance efforts will continue with a renewed focus on sales to those under age 21 when the new legal minimum age to buy tobacco products goes into effect on Nov. 13.

According to the governor's office, from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017:

  • State and local enforcement officers conducted 29,552 compliance inspections during the program year. Of these, 22,395 were compliance checks where underage youth attempted to purchase tobacco and other restricted products.  
  • A total of 386 inspections were conducted in response to 250 complaints received concerning ATUPA violations. 
  • Youth purchased tobacco and other restricted products 1,296 times. In all, 985 enforcement actions were taken for ATUPA violations and more than $922,000 in fines were assessed. 

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