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State AG: 3 online vaping companies violating new laws

New York State Attorney General Letitia James speaks

New York State Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a news conference at her office in New York on Nov. 19, 2019. Credit: AP/Richard Drew

ALBANY — Attorney General Letitia James has accused three online companies of violating the state’s new laws banning the sale of vaping products through mail order and selling products with flavors, including cotton candy, pineapple mist and green apple, to youths.

A law effective July 1 makes it illegal to sell vaping products through the mail. A law effective May 18 prohibits the sale of flavored nicotine products in the state. The measures are among several aimed at keeping flavored vaping products out of the hands of youths.

The letters released Monday advise the companies, under the threat of legal action, to stop selling any nicotine vaping products other than tobacco or menthol in New York and to stop shipping vaping products into New York State. The companies must also show their age-verification procedure or potentially face legal action by the attorney general’s office.

“Candy and fruit-flavored vaping products exist to reel teens into the dangerous habit of smoking, which is why New York banned them,” James said. “It is shameful that these companies attempted to skirt the law through sneaky, illegal online sales. We will not hesitate to hold those who put our children at risk accountable for their unlawful actions.”

The legal age for smoking and vaping in New York state is 21.

Two of the companies — HQD Tech USA based in Florida and PodVapes based in Scotland — require consumers to state they are at least 21 years old before purchasing vaping products. Those companies and the third — Cloud X Vapes based in Minnesota — didn’t respond to requests for comment.

A Siena College Research Institute poll released Monday found 85% of New Yorkers polled believed e-cigarettes and vaping were a very serious or somewhat serious problem, compared with 68% who felt that way two years ago.

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Last year the state Health Department issued an advisory about an emerging threat of pulmonary disease among people who used vaping products. The advisory urges health care providers to look for symptoms of respiratory illness among patients who vape and the department recommends anyone using vaping products who experience respiratory symptoms to stop vaping and contact a health care professional.

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