Yonkers is now the first city in New York to officially ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.
Mayor Mike Spano signed a city ordinance on Wednesday banning the sale of such products, following a 7-0 City Council vote in favor of the move on Tuesday night.
“I am proud that Yonkers led the charge on taking action on this growing epidemic,” Spano said. “We are tackling this issue head on by placing this ban into law on the local level, which by doing so, limits potential challenges by the courts or being rolled back over time.”
The Yonkers ban, set to go into effect Oct. 1, comes in the midst of growing national concern over the potential effects of vaping, and the belief that flavored e-cigarettes are designed to appeal primarily to minors.
“I am thankful to the mayor and to my colleagues on the council for getting this done efficiently,” said Yonkers City Council President Mike Khader. “This is an epidemic that would most effectively be tackled legislatively and today that is what we have done. It is our duty to protect our residents and children, and to put people over profit.”
New York became the first state to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes on Tuesday, following an emergency ban that Gov. Andrew Cuomo had proposed on Sunday. Passed by the New York Public Health and Health Planning Council, the ban – which went into effect immediately – covers all flavored cigarettes and other vaping products except for menthol and tobacco flavors. Retailers have two weeks to remove merchandise from store shelves. That order expires in 90 days.
The New York State Vapor Association, which represents 700 independent vape shops across the state, has vowed to fight the ban, maintaining that the measure should have gone before lawmakers for hearings, debate and a vote.
On the national level, President Donald Trump has proposed a federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products.
The U.S. Surgeon General, who has issued an advisory on e-cigarette use among youth, has concluded that it is a public health concern. Additionally, studies consistently report that availability of flavors is among the most prominently cited reasons for youth’s e-cigarette use. E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among youth.
Nationwide, health officials are investigating hundreds of cases of serious breathing illnesses in people who use e-cigarettes and other vaping devices. They have identified 380 confirmed and probable cases in 36 states and one territory, including six deaths. President Donald Trump has proposed a federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products.