ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Governor Cuomo is banning flavored e-cigarette and vape products in New York State. The Department of Health Commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, will meet with the Public Health and Health Planning Council this week to put the ban in place.
This comes after a surge in vaping-related illnesses and deaths, and a rise in vaping popularity among youth.
“In four years, the percentage of high school users who use e-cigarettes and vaping has increased 160 percent,” Governor Cuomo said at a press conference on Sunday.
Governor Cuomo’s plan is to ban e-cigarette flavors that are considered attractive to young people. Bill Sherman, Managing Director of Government Affairs for the American Cancer Society, isn’t thrilled with the Governor’s plan.
“We don’t think it’s helpful, and it’s really not a ban at all,” Sherman told News10.
According to Sherman, 27% of high school and middle school children are using electronic cigarettes, and out of that number, 64% use mint and menthol. Menthol flavors would be excluded from the governor’s ban.
“We think it can also be harmful because the message that is sent to children, and maybe even their parents, is that mint or menthol is okay. No e-cigarette use for children is okay at all,” Sherman told News10.
He says the American Cancer Society supports a flavor ban, but it needs to be extended to all flavors.
The governor acknowledged the controversy, but cited that the health commissioner is not ready to ban menthol flavoring.
“The menthol flavor for the vaping helps menthol cigarette smokers. So at this point, Dr. Zucker’s recommendation is not prepared to recommend banning menthol,” Governor Cuomo said in a press conference.
He said the department of health would continue studying the effects and that it could be added to the ban in the future.
But Sherman isn’t satisfied with the Governor’s reasoning.
“If people were using cigarettes to quit smoking, then the adult smoking rates would’ve been going down. And that’s simply not true. And so that is a bogus argument from our perspective,” Sherman told News10.
According to Sherman, the issue extends beyond age.
“Of African American kids who use e-cigarettes, over 70 percent of those kids use mint and menthol. And to exclude that, it’s really unfair to those communities. And we really want the governor to really look at it from a holistic standpoint and really protect all of our kids,” Sherman told News10.