MINEOLA, NY – Today, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran signed into law legislation introduced by Nassau County Legislator Arnold W. Drucker (D - Plainview) that bans the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products in Nassau County.
The measure, which was approved unanimously by the full Nassau County Legislature on Monday, Nov. 25, prohibits the sale of flavored vaping products except for those that are tobacco, mint, or menthol flavored. The ban takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
“Not too long ago, our nation achieved an historic victory by coming together to drastically reduce teen smoking. We’re now facing an alarming rise in e-cigarette use among our young people, and it is undeniable that Big Tobacco’s targeting of youth with flavors like bubblegum, mango, or cotton candy has driven that rise,” County Executive Curran said. “We will not sit and twiddle our thumbs as a whole new generation gets hooked on toxic products that lead to a lifetime of nicotine addiction and serious health risks. I thank the County Legislature for their unanimous passage of this important legislation, and I am especially grateful to Legislator Drucker for his leadership in driving forward the bill.”
The County Executive added: “In Nassau County, the health and safety of our children will always come first. I am proud to sign this bill into law.”
Nassau County’s Departments of Health and Consumer Affairs will spearhead enforcement. Violations are punishable by fines of $500 to $1,000 for initial offenses; second and subsequent violations carry a fine of $1,000 to $2,000.
The countywide flavored-vape ban was made necessary because the vaping industry initiated court action that temporarily restrained enforcement of the New York State Public Health and Health Planning Council’s administrative action that would have outlawed the sale of almost all flavored electronic cigarette and vaping products throughout New York State.
“As the vaping crisis continued to unfold in schools in Nassau County and across the United States, it became painfully clear that vaping companies were targeting young people with bubble-gum, candy, and cookie-flavored vapes. We were presented with a grave public health challenge. More importantly, we were given an opportunity to lead,” Legislator Drucker said. “Through its proactive stance, Nassau County has made clear that we will do everything in our power to protect our youth and prevent another industry from getting rich by using the big-tobacco playbook of getting young people hooked on a dangerous product. I am deeply grateful for my colleagues’ unanimous support and thank County Executive Curran for her unwavering support.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that, as of Dec. 10, 2019, fifty-two deaths and 2,403 lung injury cases associated with e-cigarette use have been reported.
While the CDC indicates that national and state findings point to products containing THC, particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources, as the source of many of the lung injuries, officials stress that the vaping is unsafe in all forms and that consumers should protect their health by refraining from the use of all vaping products.
(For the latest data and facts compiled by the CDC related to the outbreak, visit https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html.)
Today’s bill-signing marks the latest in a series of initiatives spearheaded by Legislator Drucker and other Minority Caucus legislators aimed at addressing the vaping crisis.
On Wednesday, Oct. 23, County Executive Curran signed into law a Legislator Drucker-led initiative to restrict the advertising of age-restricted products - such as cigarettes, tobacco and vaping products - within 1,000 feet of establishments commonly frequented by youth.
A third bill, introduced on Friday, Oct. 4 by Legislator Debra Mulé (D – Freeport), would ban the use of cigarettes, vapes and e-cigarettes at most County parks, playgrounds, athletic fields and recreational facilities. Legislator Drucker is a co-sponsor of that measure as well.
“Addiction to vaping is one of the most significant challenges that our young people face today. We must join forces to protect and help our youth navigate the dangers associated with this epidemic. I applaud Nassau County for taking this bold step,” Suffolk County Legislator William R. Spencer, chairman of the Legislature’s Health Committee, said.
VIDEO OF THE SIGNING: https://www.facebook.com/NassauLegDems/videos/2522681911345183/