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NY bill to ban flavored e-cigarettes moving forward

Juul products for sale are seen on Dec.

Juul products for sale are seen on Dec. 20, 2018. Credit: AP / Seth Wenig

ALBANY — New York is moving toward becoming one of the first states to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes with nicotine, according to a bill with strong sponsors in the State Legislature.

The bill notes that a U.S. surgeon general report found that people 18 to 24 years old are much more likely to use flavored e-cigarettes than people over 25 years old, according to the bill’s sponsor, Assemb. Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan). The report stated these younger smokers erroneously believe flavored e-cigarettes are less of a health hazard than traditional cigarettes.

The bill easily passed the Assembly and Senate health committees and could reach the Senate floor for a vote as early as this week.

Flavored e-cigarettes with nicotine are already prohibited for people under 18 years old. A bill passed by the legislature this year would raise the smoking age to 21 years old and awaits Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's signature to become law.

Other states have considered restricting, rather than banning the tobacco products, according to the national Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. New Jersey restricts selling flavored cigarettes while Maine restricts the sale of flavored non-premium cigars, although the Maine law allows the sale of menthol, clove, coffee, nut and pepper flavors.

So far, cities including New York City and Chicago have taken the lead in banning flavored e-cigarettes. In Massachusetts, 140 municipalities have restricted or banned them.

The bill is among several that are moving through committees and could reach floor before the scheduled end of the legislative session on June 19.

Among them are proposals to ban advertising for e-cigarettes, liquid nicotine or tobacco for hookahs within 500 feet of schools or parks; banning tobacco products from pharmacies and stores with pharmacies within the store; and banning coupons, rebates and sales that reduce retail prices of tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

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