Westchester considers banning all flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products
Local lawmakers continue to push for a ban on flavored electronic cigarettes across Westchester County.
On Monday night, the County Board of Legislators held a hearing on a proposed measure that would ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products in the county.
The proposed ban would prohibit the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products, including mint and menthol, across Westchester County. Supporters say it’s to discourage young users.
The county board already changed the minimum age to buy tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21 in Westchester, but lawmakers say more needs to done to discourage e-cigarette use.
Westchester County Legislator Nancy Barr says "the serious health concerns that have arisen around vaping present an urgent public health crisis. It is especially urgent because of the appeal of these flavored products to younger users."
The hearing comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an emergency order last month temporarily banning flavored e-cigarettes. That move was halted by a state appeals court in the face of a legal challenge from a national trade group.
According to the New York State Vapor Association, flavored e-liquid makes up 90% of vape shop sales, and shop owners say a ban could be detrimental to their businesses. "It is something that would cripple us,” says Carla Bowers, owner of White Plains Vapors. She believes customers will suffer as well. "Mainly you'll have people going back to smoking cigarettes because if you're only going to let them have tobacco flavor that's not going to fly. They're going to need their nicotine."
As of Oct. 15, the CDC says there have been 1,479 vaping-related lung injury cases and 33 deaths. The state Department of Health says the rise in vaping-related deaths and illnesses was caused by black market THC cartridges, not nicotine liquid.
Legislators like Kitley Covill says, "This legislation builds on the actions we've already taken to raise the age for the purchase of tobacco products in order to protect the public health and well-being of the people of Westchester."