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Advocates Protest as New York Pushes Through Anti-Vaping Legislation

Advocates Protest as New York Pushes Through Anti-Vaping Legislation


Advocates Protest as New York Pushes Through Anti-Vaping Legislation

Protesters took to the streets in New York as the state’s legislative bodies voted to to ban vaping flavors. The New York State Assembly and Senate approved a near-complete flavor ban in early March (with possible carve-outs for tobacco and menthol flavors), which prompted advocates to march and hold signs on the streets of Buffalo to express their outrage.

On Church Street in downtown Buffalo, advocates marched with signs that read “Vaping Are Key for Adults Quitting Smoking” and “Over 2000 Jobs Lost.” There were also huge clouds of vapor that were regularly puffed in intervals over the crowd in solidarity.

The people at the rally, mostly vapor advocates and vape store owners, argued that by taking flavors away, the state was eliminating options for adults that are trying to quit cigarettes. They also argued that their small businesses would suffer as a result of the ban.

"Stopping flavored vape will actually go ahead and limit the availability of product to consenting adults," Brian Ellis, vice president of Yeti Vape stores told WIVB4 on March 1. "So, ultimately, by taking that product away, you're now taking 92% of the product that we would have away from consenting adults to use the product.


New York State’s legislation took aim at “liquid composed of nicotine and other chemicals” and contains natural or artificial additive that causes vapor products to have a “characterizing flavor.” The legislation went on to define characterizing flavor as a “distinguishable taste or aroma, including but not limited to any fruit, chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, herb or spice flavor.”

This basically seems to mean basically all of the flavors of e-liquids aside from plain tobacco or menthol flavors, although the wording for “herb or spice” could also be interpreted as pertaining to mint and menthol flavors. This would severely restrict the number of e-liquids that would be able to be sold or used by vapers in the state.

Now, the controversial legislation similar to legislation passed in San Francisco in July 2017 only requires the pen of Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY.) before it gets put into place, though Cuomo is expected to approve the bill. Others at the rally pushed back, saying that their personal experiences have lead them to quit combustible cigarettes and that e-cigarettes are 95 percent safer than cigarettes.  

"Personally, I switched from combustible cigarettes to flavors, I mean they tasted better," Ken Gregory, co-owner of Bad Drip Labs which manufactures vaping products also told WIVB4. "It seemed more appetizing for me to use. It's more enjoyable and ultimately, the studies are showing that it's no more than 5% of the long term health effects so that's what got me to switch from combustible cigarettes personally."

Underaged Vaping

As with the flavor ban in San Francisco, the main point of contention to support ban has been that the flavored e-liquids target underaged users. This logic was also employed when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a letter last year recommending the banning of flavors.

It’s been acknowledged in the vaping community that underaged vaping is a problem that needs to be addressed. Vapers don’t want their children or teenagers to begin smoking or vaping any more than the legislators that are pushing the bill, and the advocates at the rally were quick to point that out.

"We're in agreement. We don't want teenagers starting either," said Ellis at the rally. Gregory also made this point, suggesting that condemning the vaping industry was taking the wrong attack, and that vaping should be viewed as a smoking cessation method.  

"They would smoke cigarettes," said Gregory. "I mean that's what teens would be doing. That's what it comes down to. This industry is not about getting kids using this product. If you don't vape, you do not use E-cigarettes, you shouldn't be vaping, you shouldn't be using nicotine. This a smoking cessation method."

There have been an outpouring of resistance to the flavor ban and others like it from around the country. In New York, the Vapor Technology Association (VTA) has sponsored resistance to the bill. If you feel like you want to get involved, go to a rally in support of vaping, or just help support the notion that flavors should not be banned, you can check out the VTA’s website here.