MINEOLA, NY – Nassau County Executive Laura Curran today announced “Operation Clear The Air”, a new effort by the Nassau County Department of Consumer Affairs to crack down on the sale and distribution of counterfeit e-cigarette and vape products throughout the County. County Executive Curran urged all business owners and residents to be vigilant about potential counterfeit products making their way into storefronts, and urged any residents who discover black market vaping products to report them to the Department of Consumer Affairs.
The Department of Consumer Affairs has been investigating complaints alleging counterfeit vape products sold in the Hicksville and Rockville Centre areas, already revealing consumer violations countywide. As has been widely reported, vaping has been linked to nearly 500 lung illnesses nationwide. While the direct cause is still unknown, wide-spread reports suggest counterfeit vape products may be associated with these illnesses.
“With Operation Clear The Air, Nassau County is taking decisive action to protect unsuspecting consumers from counterfeit vaping products, which can be especially dangerous,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. “Businesses in Nassau County must ensure they are not selling black market products that are not approved for sale. We have a responsibility to enforce the law and protect the health and safety of our residents.”
This week, the Department of Consumer Affairs began a sweep of over sixty locations in Baldwin, Freeport, Mineola, Oceanside, and Rockville Centre, yielding approximately 15 violations of the County’s Administrative Code Section 21-10.2, prohibiting Unfair Trade Practices. Unfair Trade Practices includes deceptive or unconscionable trade practices in the sale of any consumer good; each violation carries a maximum fine of $5,000.00.
Investigations by the Department of Consumer Affairs revealed the sale of e-cigarette products with altered stickers intended to falsely present the products as approved for sale in the United States.
Several products were found to include stickers from Canada, including product warning and information in English and French. It is unknown if products carrying foreign stickers are actually approved for sale in those respective foreign countries. In either case, they are not properly reviewed for safety or intended for sale in the U.S. market and may, in fact, be counterfeit.
Any Nassau resident who has purchased a vape product that is labeled for sale only in Canada or in any foreign country should contact the Department of Consumer Affairs at 516-571-2600 or fill-out a consumer complaint form. The Department of Consumer Affairs will need a copy of the receipt or proof of purchase and the original packaging to issue violations.