New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is taking emergency executive action to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in the state amid a national investigation by health officials into hundreds of cases of lung illness and six deaths that may be related to vaping.
“New York is confronting this crisis head-on and today we are taking another nation-leading step to combat a public health emergency,” the governor said Sunday during a press conference to announce the measure, calling out manufacturers of the products for “intentionally and recklessly targeting young people.”
“At the same time, unscrupulous stores are knowingly selling vaping products to underage youth ― those retailers are now on notice that we are ramping up enforcement and they will be caught and prosecuted,” he added.
Across the state, 64 cases of lung illness associated with vaping have been reported as of Friday, according to Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.
On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its latest figures on the outbreak of lung disease. Thirty-six states and one U.S. territory have reported a total of 380 cases in which people using vape pens and e-cigarettes for marijuana and nicotine have been affected.
On Tuesday, Kansas became the latest state to confirm its first vaping-linked death, following California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Oregon.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump said the Food and Drug Administration should consider banning flavored e-cigarettes, telling reporters that “very strong action” may be required to protect the public.
Though the FDA is still developing its final guidance on the matter, Cuomo expressed frustration that the federal government is not moving more quickly, emphasizing that the “political influence of these companies is not to be underestimated.”
“I’m not relying or waiting for the federal government. I don’t expect them to do anything responsibly, to act responsibly, because I’ve never seen them act responsibly,” he said. “So our destiny is in our own hands, and we’re taking action.”