Appellate court halts state’s ban on flavored e-cigarettes

S&A Vapes brand juices sat on shelves inside the store located in Watertown’s Seaway Plaza on Sept. 25. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

A state ban on fruit, candy/dessert and other types of flavored electronic cigarettes and e-liquids due to take effect Friday has been halted by a state appellate court.

In a lawsuit against the state, the state Appellate Division, Third Department, on Thursday granted a motion to the Vapor Technology Association and other plaintiffs that temporarily prevents the ban from taking effect. The pending ban has been restrained until the Supreme Court, Albany County, makes a determination regarding the motion for a preliminary injunction from the petitioners, which also includes Perfection Vapes and Benevolent E Liquids. The motion will be heard by the court on Oct. 18, according to the Vapor Technology Association.

“We are very pleased with the New York State Appellate Division’s decision, which acknowledges the strength of our claims about the state’s executive overreach, and which preserves the ability of hundreds of small businesses to remain open and continue to serve their adult customers,” wrote Tony Abboud, executive director of the association, in a statement.

The state Public Health and Health Planning Council adopted the ban on flavored e-cigarettes Sept. 17 in an attempt to curb the number of teenagers using vaping products amid reports of suspected cases of vaping-related lung injuries. Lawmakers such as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo have accused e-cigarette companies of using flavored products to attract underage users.

The ban prompted some local vaping product shops to close, or plan to close. S&A Vapes, Watertown, planned to shutter Friday, and the Clouds Over chain recently closed shops in Potsdam and Philadelphia, along with its local e-liquid manufacturing facility in Philadelphia.

Gov. Cuomo has also pushed for the ban to include menthol-flavored e-cigarettes and e-liquids after receiving a recommendation for it from state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, which the governor announced on Sept. 26. New York also raised the legal age for purchasing tobacco and e-cigarette products from 18 to 21, which will take effect in November.

“(The state) already has decided to address concerns about youth vaping by raising the minimum age for vapor products from 18 to 21 and imposing a major tax increase,” Mr. Abboud wrote. “We continue to stand ready to work with the State of New York and all interested stakeholders on the many real solutions that should be implemented to achieve the twin goals of restricting youth vaping, which already is illegal, and preserving flavored alternatives for adults desperately trying to quit smoking.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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