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NY targets underage use of e-cigs, vaping in law, executive order

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday. Credit: Don Pollard

ALBANY — New York will warn young people in schools about the dangers of electronic cigarettes, vaping and liquid nicotine through an executive order and bill signed into law by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday.

The bill, passed in June with strong support in the State Legislature, requires warnings about e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine in the state’s multimillion-dollar tobacco control and prevention programs in schools. The measure was co-sponsored by Assemb. Linda Rosenthal and Sen. Brad Hoylman, both Manhattan Democrats.

The state banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors in 2012. In 2016, the federal government banned the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18 years old. The legal age to purchase tobacco products in New York is 21.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said use of e-cigarettes among middle school and school students nationwide more than doubled from 2011 to 2012, according to the state legislation.

Cuomo’s executive order directs agencies to include vaping and e-cigarette warnings in all employee training. The order also requires the state Education Department to include the warnings in their health curricula.

Cuomo cited a state survey showing that said nearly 40 percent of 12th grade students use e-cigarettes. The survey found use of e-cigarettes was 160 percent higher last year than in 2014.

Hoylman called vaping “a national public health emergency, especially among teens who are getting hooked on nicotine at alarming rates.”

Rosenthal said the state efforts will combat the massive marketing efforts by tobacco companies to promote vaping and e-cigarettes, which she said is hooking teens.

“We are united and determined in our goal to protect an entire generation of New Yorkers from these harmful products and will use every tool at our disposal to accomplish this,” Cuomo said.

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