WXXI AM News

New York moves to ban menthol-flavored e-cigarettes 

Sep 26, 2019

Dr. Howard Zucker, New York state's health commissioner, speaks to reporters in Albany on Sept. 17 after a state ban on flavored e-cigarettes was announced.

New York’s ban on flavored electronic cigarettes could soon be extended to menthol e-cigarettes.  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says his health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, is now recommending that menthol-flavored e-cigarettes be taken off the market in New York.

Cuomo says the Public Health and Health Planning Council will soon convene an emergency meeting to vote on a ban. The recommendation comes one week after the council voted to ban flavored e-cigarettes, effective Oct. 4.

Cuomo, in a statement accompanying the announcement, says a study by the health department and the CDC found that one-third of underage vapers are attracted to the menthol products, a figure not much lower than the 51% of teenaged vapers who say they like flavored e-cigarettes.  

“We can't sit back and wait for the federal government to take action while a whole new generation becomes addicted to nicotine,” Cuomo said in a statement. “And this ban on the sale of menthol flavors further enhances our efforts to protect young people from forming dangerous lifelong habits."

The decision was applauded by health groups, including the American Cancer Society. 

It comes as a national health crisis stemming from vaping has sickened hundreds and killed several people. All had been vaping, but evidence so far points to additives to illegal cannabis vaping products, and not to nicotine-based vaping substances.

The owners of vaping shops in New York say the ban will put them out of business, and they have filed a lawsuit in civil court.