CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — With the clock winding down, New York’s vaping industry won a last minute reprieve from a statewide crackdown on flavored e-cigarette sales.
The State Department of Health issued tough new regulations that were set to take effect at the stroke of midnight, but a state appellate court issued a temporary injunction Thursday afternoon.
Those new health restrictions would have banned the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes, except for tobacco and menthol, which Vic Canastraro, owner of Perfection Vapes in Depew, said would have ruined the industry.
“I’ve got three of my employees here today and they are all worried. What am I going to do? They know we can’t survive.”
Attorneys for Vapor Technology Associated sued the health department in state court, but their bid for a temporary restraining order was rejected last week. But the VTA appealed, and the New York State Appellate Division in Albany granted a temporary injunction Thursday afternoon.
The new regulations were formulated to protect children from vaping, and in response to an alarming growth in illnesses and deaths linked to vaping. But officials for vaping distributors and retailers blame the disturbing trend on unregulated black market vaping products, including THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
Former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra, who represents a local distributor, has written Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying there are better ways of keeping vapor products away from teenagers
“One of the reasons why people are getting sick is black market marijuana, and what is going to happen here with this particular prohibition is it is going to push people into the black market.”
Jon Glauser, co-founder of Demand Vape said crippling the vaping industry will only hurt those working in the business, and do little to protect children.
“We want this to be accessible to adults who want to get off of combustible cigarettes, and we do not want it to appeal to children. There are ways to do that through the marketing.”
Following the court ruling, State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker released a statement saying in part, “Make no mistake: this is a public health emergency that demands immediate action to help ensure the wellbeing of our children, and we’re confident that once the court hears our argument they will agree.”
The court is set to hear those arguments on October 18 in Albany.