Joseph Dammacco, with sign, along with other pro-vaping advocates wait...

Joseph Dammacco, with sign, along with other pro-vaping advocates wait to address the Nassau County Legislators during the legislature meeting on Monday in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Majority Republicans in the Nassau County legislature on Monday postponed a vote on banning the sale of flavored e-cigarette products and liquid nicotine in the county, after testimony from supporters who said the products help adults quit smoking.

The bill passed legislative committees earlier this month, and Monday's hearing included comments from proponents of the ban, who say the products are dangerous and marketed to kids. 

"We want to do a little bit more research, we want to look at this issue," Presiding Officer Rich Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said after members of the majority caucus took a brief recess.

Nicolello's remarks drew applause from about a dozen members of the vaping industry, who wore blue "Flavors Save Lives" t-shirts.

"We are not making a commitment either way today," Nicolello said.

Under the measure proposed by Legis. Arnold Drucker (D-Plainview), only flavorless or tobacco-, mint-, and menthol-flavored e-cigarette and liquid nicotine products could be sold in Nassau.

Violators of the law would face fines of $500 to $1,000 for the first offense, and between $1,000 and $2,000 for future offenses.

In September, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the state had banned the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes and nicotine e-liquids. 

The regulations were put on hold after a state appellate court granted an e-cigarette industry group's request for a stay.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 1,604 lung injuries associated with e-cigarettes or vaping in all states except for Alaska, and 34 deaths in 24 states.

Earlier in the day, Drucker had said lawmakers were looking "to get ahead of this most recent scourge in this county and across Long Island and across this country."

After Nicolello's decision to table the vote, Drucker said he was a "little disappointed ...The longer we wait, the longer and more chance of younger people getting sick from this."

Garden City resident Spike Babaian, technical analysis director for the New York State Vapor Association, testified she used peach-flavored vaping products to quit smoking after 21 years.

People who use vaping to quit smoking don't want to try menthol or tobacco-flavored products because they "do not want to be reminded of smoking a cigarette. When you ban flavors, and you take away this option, people are not going to want to go back to smoking, but many of them will."

Susan Blauner, director of substance abuse prevention, awareness, and education for the Saving Lives Five Towns Drug and Alcohol Coalition, said "the appeal of flavored vapor -- let's not kid ourselves — is what draws kids in, and the addictive properties of nicotine is what keeps them using on and on."

She continued, "laws prohibiting sales to minors are simply not enough.

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