Proposals Build on Governor's Aggressive Actions to Protect New Yorkers from the Dangers of Vaping and Smoking Nicotine Products
Photos from Today's Event are Available Here
Earlier today, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker joined the NYS American Academy of Pediatrics and over 100 anti-vaping advocates at the State Capitol to rally support for Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's campaign to ban all flavored nicotine vaping products, including menthol flavors, and to restrict vaping advertisements aimed at youth.
The legislation, proposed by the Governor as part of this year's budget, would also authorize the State Department of Health to regulate the sale of vaping product carrier oils deemed to be a public health risk and prohibit the online, phone and mail order sale of e-cigarettes. Only registered retailers would be allowed to purchase e-cigarettes using those methods. The campaign also includes a new hashtag - #NoVapeNY - as well as a petition where New Yorkers can show their support for the legislation and a website - ny.gov/endvaping - with more information about the Governor's proposals.
"As the dangers of vaping and flavored e-cigarette products become more apparent, we are taking aggressive steps to stop big tobacco's attempt to get a whole new generation of kids hooked on their nicotine products," Governor Cuomo said. "The nicotine vaping epidemic is a scourge on our state and our nation, and while the federal government does little to reverse this troubling trend, New York is leading the way in the battle to ban flavored e-cigarette products and vaping ads aimed at our kids."
"A high number of young people are using vape products with vaping companies deliberately targeting them using flavors like bubblegum and cotton candy," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "That is why New York is taking action to address this public health crisis and ban flavored e-cigarettes to help ensure all New Yorkers' health and safety. As part of our efforts, we are highlighting a campaign to ban all flavored nicotine vaping products and restrict advertisements that are aimed toward our young people. We are committed to taking aggressive steps to prevent nicotine addiction and help save lives."
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "The disturbingly high level of e-cigarette usage by young people is nothing short of a public health crisis, and we must do everything in our power to turn the tide, including encouraging the state legislature to approve Governor Cuomo's vaping flavor ban and other proposals to reverse this disturbing trend."
These proposals build on the Governor's previous actions to protect New Yorkers from the dangers of vaping and cigarette smoking. In 2017, Governor Cuomo expanded the Clean Indoor Air Act to prohibit e-cigarette use in nearly every workplace setting to protect workers and the public from harmful secondhand tobacco smoke and vaping aerosols. In 2019, e-liquid retailers were required to register with the Department of Taxation and Finance, and Governor Cuomo signed legislation to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco and electronic cigarette products from 18 to 21 - the law went into effect on November 13, 2019.
From 2014 to 2018 youth use of e-cigarettes has increased by 160 percent. Nearly 40 percent of 12th grade students and 27 percent of all high school students are now using e-cigarettes. Flavored nicotine e-liquids are the principal marketing strategy of the vaping industry. One in five youth believe that nicotine e-cigarettes are both harmless and not addictive.
Warren Seigel, MD, FAAP, Chair of New York State American Academy of Pediatrics said, "We are here today with hundreds of pediatricians and our parent partners, school partners and partners in public health to encourage our state legislators to join Governor Cuomo in his effort to ban vaping products now, as we have no time to waste. Every day we wait more New York teens get hooked on nicotine through vaping. Our kids need our help now. They're depending on us and they can't fight big tobacco on their own."
Ban the Sale of Flavored Nicotine Vaping Products
The Governor introduced legislation banning the sale of all flavored nicotine vaping products, including menthol — an extension of the State's ongoing efforts to reduce youth use of both tobacco and vaping products.
Restrict Vaping Ads Targeted to Youth
Governor Cuomo's legislation will restrict vaping-related ads targeted to youth, including those in more traditional forms of advertising such as newspapers and magazines, as well as in digital formats in periodicals, social media and on websites with significant youth viewership. Advertisers will also not be allowed to make vaping product safety claims or pitch vaping products as smoking cessation options without FDA-approval.
Ban Harmful Unregulated Carrier Oils
In order to quickly respond to the proliferation of the dangerous, untested and unregulated chemicals used in vaping related products, Governor Cuomo will also advance legislation to empower the Department of Health to ban the sale of vaping carrier oils that include chemicals or ingredients that when inhaled through a vaping device are deemed to be dangerous and a significant public health risk.
Limit Online Sale of Vaping Products
Governor Cuomo will advance legislation restricting the online, phone and mail order sale of e-liquids and e-cigarettes only to licensed vaping product retailers. Only registered retailers would be allowed to purchase e-cigarettes using those methods. This restriction, which already applies to the sale of conventional tobacco products, will help stop the illegal sale of dangerous vaping products to underage purchasers.
End the Sale of Tobacco and E-Cigarette Products in Pharmacies
Healthcare-related entities should not be in the business of selling tobacco, the leading cause of preventable death in New York State. Ending the sale of tobacco and e-cigarette products in pharmacies will help reduce the availability, visibility and social acceptability of tobacco use, especially to youth.
Prohibit the Use of Coupons for Tobacco and Nicotine Products
Research indicates that the price of tobacco products is closely tied to prevalence, especially among youth who are almost twice as "price sensitive" as adults. As a result, New York has the highest state excise tax on cigarettes and one of the lowest youth smoking rates in the nation. But the tobacco industry is also fully aware of the effect of price on smoking rates and invests nearly 85% of its over $9 billion a year marketing budget on price-reducing promotions including direct to consumer coupons and in-store discounts. These discounts undermine the public health impact of New York's tax and prohibiting coupons and discounts would eliminate an important source of industry price manipulation.
Last week the State Department of Health also announced a partnership with Truth Initiative, a nonprofit national public health organization committed to making tobacco use a thing of the past, to create a NYS-specific version of their text-based intervention, "This is Quitting." To access this program, users simply need to text "DropTheVape" to 88709.
This innovative and free text message program was created with input from teenagers, college students and young adults who have attempted to, or successfully, quit vaping. It is tailored to specific age groups (13-17 and 18-24) to give appropriate quitting recommendations. Upon enrolling in the text message program, users receive interactive daily text messages tailored to their sign-up date or their target quit date, should the user choose to set one.
The program also directs users to the New York State Quitline, which recently added free quit-coaching and nicotine replacement therapy for eligible users of e-cigarettes to address the growing need to help them break their dependence on vaping.
For more information about e-cigarettes and the Governor's vaping ban proposals, visit: www.health.ny.gov/NoVape.