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Court blocks enforcement of NY’s flavored e-cigarette ban

A New York state court is barring the state from enforcing its ban on flavored e-cigarettes.
Brett Dahlberg
A New York state court is barring the state from enforcing its ban on flavored e-cigarettes.

A New York state appellate court on Thursday granted a temporary restraining order to block enforcement of a planned ban on flavored e-cigarette products.

The order, first reported by the New York Law Journal, came less than 24 hours before enforcement was scheduled to begin.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo had proposed the ban last month amid a string of lung injuries and deaths tied to illicit e-cigarettes.

After the health department signed off on the ban, industry groups led by the Vapor Technology Association filed suit seeking a temporary restraining order against its enforcement.

The association called the ban “arbitrary” and “misguided” because the vaping deaths were connected with products that were already illegal. It also said e-cigarettes are helping people quit smoking conventional cigarettes.

Now, the state’s appellate court division has granted the restraining order blocking the state’s enforcement of the ban until a lower court rules on another motion brought by the Vapor Technology Association, called a preliminary injunction.

At the Wise Guy Smoke Shop in Gates, manager Lori Mastrodonato took in the news with a range of emotions.

“I felt frustration, agitation, relief, all at the same time,” she said.

Mastrodonato said 30% to 40% of her retail space was taken up by products that are covered under the delayed ban.

“I’ve been coming in early every single day and staying late and ripping the store apart. It’s been very stressful,” she said. “And then it’s all on hold for a little bit.”

State health commissioner Howard Zucker said in a statement that the court’s ruling is a temporary setback.

The vaping industry “is using flavored e-cigarettes to get young people hooked on potentially dangerous and deadly products,” Zucker said. “Make no mistake: this is a public health emergency.”

Brett was the health reporter and a producer at WXXI News. He has a master’s degree from the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism.
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