ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Vape shops across New York State are reeling after being ordered to stop selling flavored e-cigarettes.
The ban is in effect, and retailers like Smoke Signals in Halfmoon are being given a two-week grace period to clear the shelves before enforcement begins October 4.
Smoke Signals owner Fred Leonardi showed off one of the hundreds of boxes of flavored e-liquids he can no longer sell under the new ban.
“Oh my god, my vape juice inventory is tens of thousands of dollars,” he said.
Now all of it will go down the drain along with the profits following Tuesday’s vote by the Public Health and Health Planning Council passing the emergency ban proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“If you don’t know what you’re smoking, don’t smoke it,” said the governor.
He cited a surge in use among young people and in breathing illnesses, which the New York State Vapor Association says are linked to products sold on the black market.
“Illicit street products containing THC and vitamin E acetate,” said Scott Kruger with the NYS Vapor Association.
Leonardi says a greater threat to public health will be when vapers go back to smoking or when teens turn to the web.
“You’re going to force them to get it on the internet, and you don’t know exactly what you’re getting most of the time from the internet. Or they’re just going to take that 45 minute ride into Massachusetts.”
Menthol and tobacco flavors are still allowed as are flavored tobacco products like cigars. Leonardi says the vape industry is being unfairly targeted.
“I saw cotton candy vodka and birthday cake vodka. Why isn’t the governor going after flavored vodka geared for children?”
As for his massive inventory, Leonardi will run a 50 percent off sale before the ban is enforced next month.
“You’re just hurting New York businesses, that’s all.”
The vape industry is considering a legal challenge to the regulation, which they say should have gone before lawmakers for hearings, debate and a vote.