December 6, 2021

Vaping rule bitter for some

New state regulation banning flavored e-cigs raises objections locally

Kevin Conlon/City Editor

Sammy Ali, co-owner of The Daily Grind on Main Street in Cortland, assists Will Jones, who is buying flavored vaping products. Gov. Andrew Cuomo early this week banned the sale of many flavored vaping products and gave businesses two weeks to sell off those products.

Daily Grind co-owner Sammy Ali and customer Will Jones of Groton were in agreement as Ali sold Jones a flavored electronic cigarette materials at the Main Street, Cortland, shop.

Both objected to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision Sunday to ban most flavored e-cigarette liquid and give merchants two weeks to sell off their products before the ban went into effect.

Cuomo acted over concerns that flavored e-cigarettes were attracting youths to tobacco products and after months of growing national concern about illnesses apparently caused by e- cigarettes. Michigan followed suit a day later.

The emergency regulation enacted Tuesday will expire in 90 days unless it’s renewed. Cuomo has proposed legislation that would put the ban in state law, eliminating the need to renew the ban.

Figures released last week demonstrated the growing popularity of vaping among adolescents.

Nearly 28% of U.S. adolescents surveyed this year said they vaped at least once in the last 30 days, up from 21% in 2018 and 12 percent the year before that.

A second study by the University of Michigan published Wednesday had similar findings.

About 25% of high school seniors surveyed this year said they vaped nicotine in the previous month, up from about 21%, shows the report published by the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers surveyed more than 42,000 students across the country in grades 8, 10 and 12.

The study also found cigarette smoking declined in high school seniors, from about 8% to 6%. The researchers have not reported how many students said they vaped marijuana.

While Ali said vaping products do not make up a large portion of his sales, he believed the ban was unfair. He noted New York had not acted to limit sales of other tobacco products that reap significant tax revenue for the state and which had better substantiated health risks.

While flavored cigarettes are banned, tobacco companies rebranded them as cigars to get around the rules.
“It’s a bad decision,” Ali said. “The cigarettes could be worse than that.”

Jones said he doubted the state ban would stop access to flavored e-cigarettes, which are also available online and through other sources.

“People are going to do what they want,” he predicted.

People would probably smoke more cigarettes, Jones said, and he preferred efforts to develop safer e-cigarettes.
While e-cigarettes were first marketed as a safer alternative to cigarettes and a way for people to quit smoking, the research into how safe the use of such products, known vaping, has been lacking.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.