Protecting Our Youth from Flavored E-Cigarettes

Protecting Our Youth from Flavored E-Cigarettes

Council Member Mark Levine, the Lead Sponsor of Intro. 1362-A (Photo Credit: Emil Cohen)

In a historic move aimed at protecting the health of our city’s young people, the New York City Council voted last month to ban the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), becoming the largest municipality in the country to do so. The use of e-cigarettes in the U.S., commonly referred to as “vaping,” has grown at a rapid pace, especially among youth, with the Federal Drug Administration declaring in September 2018 that vaping among teenagers had reached epidemic proportions. By the end of 2018, roughly 3.5 million young people had reported vaping, with the number climbing to nearly 5 million in 2019.

These high usage rates among youth have caused growing concern about their exposure to the highly addictive nicotine contained in most e-cigarettes, as teenagers’ brains are still developing, and exposure to nicotine can have a detrimental impact on developing brains. Introduction No. 1362-A, sponsored by Council Member Mark Levine, bans the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and flavored e-liquids in New York City, including mint, menthol, and wintergreen e-cigarettes and e-liquids. The legislation also creates a presumption that an electronic cigarette retail dealer in possession of six or more flavored e-cigarettes, or more than 12 fluid ounces (or 354.882 mL) of flavored e-liquids, has intent to sell or offer for sale.

The bill further requires the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to conduct a public information and awareness campaign to educate the public regarding the availability of free and low-cost smoking cessation medication and services. “Today the City Council is moving to ban the fruity, minty, candy-like flavors of e-cigarettes that have ensnared a new generation of children in this city in the grip of nicotine addiction,” said Council Member Levine. “These flavors are clearly designed to appeal to young people and they have worked – nearly two-thirds of the thousands of New York City kids who smoke now report that they started by using flavored e-cigarettes.

As a city, we have an obligation to act decisively now to protect young people and I am proud that the City Council is ready to pass this historic piece of legislation.”

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