What to Know
- A state-wide ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in New York has been temporarily put on hold
- The NY Appellate Court granted a temporary restraining order against the enforcement of the flavor ban, which was set to begin Friday
- The prohibition was set to cover flavored e-cigarettes and other vaping products except for menthol and tobacco flavors
A state-wide ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in New York has been temporarily put on hold.
The New York Appellate Court granted a temporary restraining order Thursday against the enforcement of the flavor ban, which was set to begin on Friday. The order issued Thursday gives the court time to consider the vaping industry's lawsuit to block the ban.
The decision comes after a lawsuit was brought by the Vapor Technology Association, Benevolent ELiquids and Perfection Vapes, protesting the ban. The panel’s order for a temporary halt in the ban was unanimous.
The prohibition was set to cover flavored e-cigarettes and other vaping products except for menthol and tobacco flavors. Retailers also faced a looming deadline to remove merchandise from store shelves.
VTA Executive Director Tony Abboud previously said New York's ban unfairly targets former smokers who rely on flavors while failing to address marketing to youth. The VTA argued the bans are governmental overreach that will hurt small businesses selling e-cigarettes and adult smokers who say flavors help them quit.
But the state hopes that the delay doesn’t mean their plans to permanently ban the products will go up in smoke. Er, vapor.
“It is undeniable that the vaping industry is using flavored e-cigarettes to get young people hooked on potentially dangerous and deadly products,” New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a statement.
Health officials issued the regulations in response to worries that vaping may cause illnesses and that its use is growing among teenagers. According to data from the state health department, use among high-school students increased from 10.5% in 2014 to 27.4% in 2018.
“While the court’s ruling temporarily delays our scheduled enforcement of this ban, it will not deter us from using every tool at our disposal to address this crisis. Make no mistake: This is a public health emergency that demands immediate action to help ensure the wellbeing of our children, and we’re confident that once the court hears our argument they will agree.”
Supporters such as the American Cancer Society's advocacy group said they'll continue pushing for New York's ban on flavored e-cigarettes and for laws to make such restrictions permanent.
"There is no doubt it is an emergency," said the group's spokeswoman Julie Hart. "We have to act and do something because our kids are getting addicted to flavored products. The next step is all flavored tobacco."
Gov. Cuomo recently said he would move to expand New York's flavor ban to include menthol, though the status of such a change is unclear.
The decision also comes as Connecticut health officials ruled the first person in the state died as a result of possible vape-related illness.
Nationwide, the Center for Disease Control says there have been more than 1,000 vaping lung cases and at least 18 deaths. There were 275 new cases identified over the past week, and the CDC is investigating several other deaths suspected to be caused by vaping, said the group’s Principle Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat, who called it a “very concerning outbreak.”