New York State Department of Health Announces Statewide Ban of Flavored Nicotine Vapor Products Takes Effect Today

Prohibition on Sale of Tobacco and Nicotine Vapor Products in Pharmacies Also Begins Today

Both Laws Were Part of Comprehensive Tobacco Control Policy Outlined in the FY 2020-21 Executive Budget

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 18, 2020) - The New York State Department of Health today announced that two signature pieces of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Comprehensive Tobacco Control Policy take effect today. The first law prohibits the sale of flavored nicotine vapor products, and the second bans the sale of all tobacco and nicotine vapor products in pharmacies. Both Executive Budget Proposals were included in the enacted FY 2020-21 budget.

"The ban on flavored nicotine vapor products will protect our children, who, thanks to the tobacco industry's marketing efforts, have been using vaping products at alarming rates," said New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker. "Starting today, we will no longer permit Big Tobacco to target young New Yorkers for a lifetime of nicotine addiction."

The law does not include flavorless and tobacco flavored nicotine vapor products, as well as nicotine vapor products that are approved by the FDA, which has currently approved none.

Flavors are largely responsible for the dramatic increase in use of e-cigarettes by youth and are a principal reason that youth initiate and maintain e-cigarette use. According to Department of Health data, nearly 40 percent of 12th grade students and 27 percent of high school students in New York State are now using e-cigarettes, and this increase is largely driven by flavored e-liquids. High school use in 2018 (27.4%) is 160 percent higher than it was in 2014 (10.5%). While New York's high school student cigarette smoking rate dropped from 27.1% in 2000 to a record low of 4.3% in 2016, aggressive marketing strategies promoting flavored e-cigarettes are primed to reverse that trend.

Flavoring is a key youth marketing strategy of the vaping/aerosol industry just as it is in the cigarette, cigarand smokeless tobacco markets. E-cigarette marketing highlights flavors such as mint chocolate, bubblegum and cherry cola, and creates adeceptivebelief that they are not harmful to users. In a 2017 survey of 15-to-17-year-old adolescents in New York State currently using electronic vapor products, 19% of the adolescents said that flavors were the reason that they first tried an e-cigarette and 27% said flavors were the reason for maintaining use. Studies also show nearly 78% of high school students and 75% of middle school students report being exposed to pro-tobacco marketing in 2016.Legislation will be advanced next session to prevent these deceptive and misleading advertisements to target our youth.

Governor Cuomo has taken unprecedented steps to ensure the health and safety of all New Yorkers by combating the use of harmful tobacco and nicotine products. The Enacted Budget prohibits the sale or distribution of e-cigarettes or nicotine vapor products that have a characterizing flavor unless approved as part of an FDA pre-market approval; prohibits the sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, in all pharmacies; restricts the delivery of nicotine vapor products only to NYS-licensed vapor products dealer; restricts the public display of tobacco and nicotine vapor products near schools; requires manufacturers of nicotine vapor products to disclose to the DOH Commissioner and the public, information regarding the ingredients, by-products, or contaminants in vapor products, whether intentional or unintentionally added; allows the DOH Commissioner to ban certain carrier oils if they are determined to be harmful; bans coupons and manufacturer discounts and displays in shops; and increases penalties for illegally selling tobacco products to minors.