Cuomo budget will include plan to ban flavored e-cig liquids


Gov. Cuomo is moving to ban flavored e-cigarettes that are widely viewed as targeting youths.

His budget plan to be unveiled Tuesday will include a provision that gives the state Health Department authority to pull the plug on flavored e-cig liquids.

“We have made great strides to stamp out teen smoking, but new products threaten to undo this progress to the detriment of millions of Americans. In New York, we refuse to stand idly by while unscrupulous businesses target our young people and put their very futures at risk,” Cuomo said in a statement.

According to health officials, there are an estimated 15,000 flavored e-cigs on the market, with flavors ranging from apple to cream cookie.

Vaping among high school students has skyrocketed 160 percent in four years–from 10.4 percent in 2014 to 27.4 percent in 2018, the Health Department reported.

And it’s the flavorings that are driving the increase, officials said.

A recent state survey found that 46 percent of teens prefer fruit flavors, followed by 20 percent for menthol and 18 percent for chocolate, candy or other sweets.

The survey also found that teens are more likely to believe that sweet flavored cigs are less harmful.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced restrictions on the sales of flavored e-cigs and proposed a ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.

Manufacturers are getting the message. Juul, the top e-cigarette maker, announced late last year that it would limit sales of flavored pods to the web, ending sales in all stores. It also said it would only sell those products to people age 21 and up.

The Cuomo plan calls for a new regulatory regime requiring e-cigs to be sold only through licensed retailers.

“Currently the sale of e-cigarettes is almost entirely unregulated. Restricting the sale to licensed retailers will allow the current enforcement infrastructure to ensure that minors do not purchase tobacco products,” Cuomo stated.

E-cigs, like regular smokes, contain nicotine, which is addictive, experts said. While not as carcinogenic as tobacco smokes, it can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, and young people who use e-cigarettes are significantly more likely to try cigarettes and become smokers.

Meanwhile, Cuomo is following New York City’s lead by raising the minimum age to buy regular tobacco smokes and e-cigs from 18 to 21 statewide. Gotham and 18 other counties in the state already have a minimum purchase age of 21.

He’s taking yet another page from NYC by banning the sale of tobacco and e-cigs in pharmacies. The Big Apple’s ban on drug store chains selling smokes and e-cigs took effect Jan. 1.

Elsewhere, the anti-smokes plan restricts discounts offered by tobacco and e-cig sellers to get around New York’s high taxes on the products.

The Post first reported in November that the Health Department had drafted rules to curb flavored e-cigs. But after the story posted, officials said the edict was pulled for further review.