Hundreds of vape shops could be in jeopardy after New York bans flavored e-cigarettes

Around New York State

700 vape shops across state face uncertain future

ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that New York State would ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and nicotine e-liquids.

The emergency ban goes into effect immediately and will remain in effect for 90 days. The ban is the result of a vote on emergency regulations by the Public Health and Health Planning Council.

Cuomo released a statement on the decision on Tuesday:

“It is undeniable that vaping companies are deliberately using flavors like bubblegum, Captain Crunch and cotton candy to get young people hooked on e-cigarettes – it’s a public health crisis and it ends today. New York is not waiting for the federal government to act, and by banning flavored e-cigarettes we are safeguarding the public health and helping prevent countless young people from forming costly, unhealthy and potentially deadly life-long habits.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, (D) New York

According to the Department of Health, nearly 40% of 12th-grade students and 27% of high school students in New York State are now using e-cigarettes. The department claims these numbers are directly related to flavored e-liquids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously issued a warning for parents when it comes to kids and the dangers of vaping.

Federal health officials are currently investigating a link between e-cigarette use and an outbreak of breathing illnesses. There have been 380 confirmed cases and probable cases reported in 36 states and one U.S. territory. On Tuesday, it was reported that a seventh person has died in the U.S. from a pulmonary illness related to vaping.

“We will be closed in two weeks when they take everything off our shelves,” says Andrew Ribble, owner of the Liquid Cloud Lounge on Monroe Avenue in Rochester.

Ribble’s business and 700 other vape shops across the state are now in danger of shutting their doors for good. “It’s a knee-jerk reaction, it’s lack of information, it’s ignorance,” Ribble adds Governor Cuomo is playing politics and Albany’s not stopping anything. 

“You’ve created a black market. And we already know when you have a black market, and you’re making products that are unregulated, you have deaths,” he adds.

And those deaths Albany and others say is caused by vaping?  Ribble and the New York Vapor Association say they know what it is, and they don’t sell it. “It’s called Vitamin E acetate, which is used as a cutting agent that’s put into illegal black market THC cards.”

Ribble says this is going to not only force vaping to go underground, it’s going to make those who took up vaping to quit smoking, go right back to that habit. He, and 700 other shops in-state, now stands to lose millions in annual sales and lay off workers. 

“So…great job boys. I’d like to see someone put together a class-action lawsuit against Cuomo and the State of New York.”

The Department of Health says it will give retailers a two-week grace period before visiting stores to enforce the ban beginning on Monday, October 4. Retailers who violate the ban will face a $2,000 fine per violation.

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