MINEOLA, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — Beginning in January, the sale of flavored vaping products and e-cigarettes will not be allowed in Nassau County.
The measure was drafted by county Legislator Arnold Drucker, who says vaping has caused more harm than good.
“It’s causing irreparable harm, respiratory illness and deaths. The CDC has documented cases of death and serious illnesses,” he said.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran signed the bill into law on Monday after it was unanimously passed by the full Nassau County Legislature in November.
As of Jan. 1, 2020, violators caught selling flavored vaping products and e-cigarettes will face fines of up to $2,000.
“We see the tobacco companies losing their market share and so what do they do? They make very appealing flavors – whether it’s bubblegum or mango or cookies and cream – to flavor these products which, really are poison. Let’s not forget nicotine is drug. It’s an incredibly addictive drug,” Curran said at the bill signing.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 2,400 people have been diagnosed with e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) in all 50 states.
A total of 52 deaths have been confirmed in 26 states, including two in New York.
Federal health officials say the majority of reported vaping-related deaths in the U.S. have been linked to THC products, and believe the vitamin E acetate used to thicken the liquid has caused a majority of the illnesses.
As Nassau County prepares to initiate its flavored vaping ban, Juul Labs, the nation’s largest e-cigarette maker, has already pulled all flavors except for menthol and tobacco. But hundreds of smaller firms continue to sell flavored e-cigarettes. Flavors have been banned from traditional cigarettes in the U.S. since 2009, except for menthol.
Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has also barred the sale of flavored products in the five boroughs. The only flavor that will be available is menthol.
The measure was sponsored by Councilman Mark Levine, who said the vaping industry “rolled out their products in every fruity, minty, candyish flavor you can imagine and tragically, all of that worked.”
It worked on 16-year-old Philip Ferman, who began vaping at the end of 8th grade.
“I was doing it for probably a year and a half and it took me a few months to quit- 10 to 15 times and a lot of hard work,” he said. “A lot of anger coming out in bad ways. A lot of tension in my family but eventually I did it.”
He believes banning the flavors means younger kids not started vaping. The law takes effect July 1, 2020.