Emily De Vito
Updated: November 13, 2019 09:49 AM
Created: November 12, 2019 10:48 PM
ALBANY – The Albany County Legislature failed to pass a local law Tuesday night that would have banned the sale flavored tobacco products in the county.
18 legislators voted in favor of the law, 17 voted against. However, they needed a majority of 20 votes to pass it.
“These products are not harmless, the DOH Commissioner Dr. Zucker said the other day nobody should be vaping so why aren't we listening to it,” said Caitlin O’Brien with the American Heart Association.
Those who had supported the bill rallied outside ahead of Tuesday night’s vote. A few people on the other side of the issue were also chanting making their voices heard.
The main push behind the bill was to curb youth vaping use. The New York State Department of Health says 27 percent of high school student in the state are now using e-cigarettes. After a public comment period, legislators voted and “Local Law E” did not pass. Breathing a sigh of relief was business owners. Many feared having to shut down or losing business to other counties.
“The flavor ban is really going to do more harm than good,” said Christian King who owns the Campus Mobil Gas Station on Western Avenue. “I also own a store at airport Mobil across from Keeler Motor Car, which is about a quarter mile from Schenectady County. So if they can't get flavored tobacco from me they’re going to drive a quarter mile down the road. I'm going to lose revenue, the county's going to lose sales tax and ultimately they're going to get what they're looking for anyway.”
Health advocates said they vow to keep fighting for a ban.
"Eventually people will start to understand that this important and that this is a priority and it's something we need to do," said O’Brien. "We will absolutely be pushing at the state level, we're pushing at the federal level."
Legislators can re-introduce the local law next year. At the state level New York Governor Andrew Cuomo placed a ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes through an emergency executive order. However, that is being held up in court
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