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Lawmakers propose bills to ban e-cigarettes, flavored tobacco

WNYT Staff
Updated: January 13, 2020 05:25 PM
Created: January 13, 2020 04:46 PM

After Gov. Cuomo's emergency ban on flavored vaping products was struck down by a judge last week, state legislators are proposing a ban of their own.

The judge said a ban would require the legislature to change the law -- and that’s just what they're vowing to do.

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According to the CDC, more than 2,600 people across the country have been hospitalized due to vaping-related illnesses. Of those people, 57 have died in 27 states and Washington, D.C.

Factor in that teen vape use continues to skyrocket and legislators say there's no time to waste.

“I'm afraid that…we as a state and as a country are already too late,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman said.

Hoylman addressed supporters Monday at the state Capitol, calling for passage of a pair of bills that would end the sale of all flavored tobacco products statewide.

Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal says the tobacco industry's shameless promotion of sweet and cutesy flavors like cotton candy keeps the number of teen users increasing by thousands every day.

“And so we have to put a stop to it. And the best way right now is to limit what is available on the market,” she said.

The bills would penalize the manufacturers, distributors, and licensed retailers for violations. They would also prevent online sales.

“We need to pass these two pieces of legislation to tell tobacco companies that enough is enough,” said Rebecca Carman, director of policy and community development at Shenendehowa Schools.

Carman says they're already seeing vape use spreading to elementary schools. She knows kids are resourceful and a ban won't fix everything.

“I think it adds another barrier and it decreases their opportunities to get them and holds the people who are selling out accountable,” she said.

Hassani Hamilton, 17, attends Bishop Maginn and says she used to think vapes were perfectly fine - because 'everyone' was doing it.

“What I've come to realize is that these products are deadly in their rampant use in my community is no accident,”

She now sees how the products are being marketed to her and her peers -- and the health effects some are already experiencing.

“You start to see, like, what is the shortness of breath they start to get because of the menthols, and you can just see it starting to take its toll,” she said.

The bills go to health committees for review Tuesday.


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