Attn: New York State Retailers Only: Below is important information from the New York Association of Convenience Stores
As of September 17, 2019
Cuomo Council Makes Flavored E-cig Ban Official
Tobacco and Menthol are Only Permitted Flavors
Enforcement to Begin Friday, October 4, 2019
No Provision for Sell-Through of Banned Product
Governor Cuomo’s Public Health and Health Planning Council adopted an emergency order banning the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and other vaping products in New York State except for menthol and tobacco flavors.
The executive order is “effective immediately,” but Cuomo said his health department “will provide retailers with an approximate two-week grace period before conducting visits to enforce the flavoring ban beginning on Friday, October 4.”
After listening to three hours of comments – mostly from vape shop owners – the council voted to impose the ban, with two negative votes. NYACS was not among those speaking, because we did not realize the meeting would include an opportunity for public comment. NYACS did, however, submit a letter requesting a 60-day grace period enabling retailers to sell down any inventory still on hand as of the effective date. This request was shot down. There is no sell-through period.
Fruit, chocolate, mint, wintergreen, herb, spice, and all other e-cigarettes flavors besides tobacco and menthol are outlawed under the executive order. Of course, they’ll remain abundantly available to New Yorkers across state lines, at tribal smoke shops, and online.
The Cuomo administration is getting a lot of flak from the anti-tobacco community, who complain that allowing the continued sale of menthol e-cigarettes was a cop-out. The PHHPC said the question of whether they should additionally ban menthol e-cigarettes will be studied further. They posed two questions: 1) Do menthol cigarette smokers need menthol e-cigarettes in order to quit smoking combustible cigarettes; and 2) If menthol e-cigarette flavors were no longer available, would menthol e-cigarette users go back to smoking menthol combustible cigarettes? The PHHPC said it would “continue to discuss and research the issue of menthol, and adjust strategy as needed.”
The emergency order will be in effect for 90 days, although the PHHPC could extend it. Or, as is more likely, the state Health Department could adopt permanent regulations incorporating the ban.
The text of the emergency regulation that was adopted, which is linked below, acknowledges that “Small business and local governments were not consulted during the creation of this proposed rule,” then goes on to claim that “small businesses and local governments will be able to submit public comments during the public comment period.” But the rule is effective immediately, so why bother? Read the text here.
Even more annoying, in the required Job Impact Statement section of the regulation, the agency pompously claims that “The impact on businesses where e-cigarette sales is not the focus of the business (e.g., convenience store) will have no job impact from this regulation as e-cigarettes make up only a small percentage of their sales.”
To watch a video of today’s PHHPC meeting, click here
Saying the ban would kill their businesses and deny smokers a viable means of quitting combustible cigarettes, vape shop owners vowed to challenge the order in court. Read more here
Governor Cuomo gleefully issued a press release this afternoon trumpeting “New York State Implements First-in-the-Nation Ban on Flavored E-Cigarettes.” You can read it here
The Schenectady Dairy Gazette ran an editorial calling the ban “a knee-jerk reaction that could set back smokers trying to quit, hurt legitimate businesses and may not address the real causes of latest vaping illnesses.” Click here to read it
The New York Post ran an article by two academics pointing out that “Politicians are scapegoating e-cigs for harm they haven’t done.” Read it here
Contact NYACS President Jim Calvin with questions, comments or concerns (518-432-1400, email@example.com)