YONKERS, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — Yonkers on Thursday joined a growing number of local municipalities looking to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarette products to curb what the Flood and Drug Administration has called an “epidemic of youth vaping.”
E-cigarettes, like JUUL, typically heat a flavored nicotine solution into an inhalable vapor. Federal law bans sale of the products to anyone under the age of 18, but according to recent studies, more and more high school students report using vaping products.
Now, Yonkers is looking to become the first city in New York to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarette juices all together to prevent teenagers from gaining access to the products.
“Flavored e-cigarettes really aren't about helping adults quit smoking and what we're trying to do here is about stopping children from starting,” said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano.
He joins a growing number of local officials, including Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, who are looking to prevent teenagers from developing nicotine addictions.
"We know that they're being marketed to children because of the flavors. Things like cotton candy, banana strawberry, Oreo flavor, you know, clearly this is not meant for grownups who are already smokers,” Curran said. “It's meant to attract young people.”
Curran also pointed out last week that there’s been a surge in cases of severe lung damage caused by vaping across the country.
Despite the illnesses, some continue to disagree with the proposals to ban flavored e-cigarette products.
Michael Bowers, who now owns a vape shop in Yonkers, says he was a heavy tobacco user before vaping became popular.
“I transitioned over to vaping six years ago and it was because of flavors,” he tells WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.
He believes that if cities around the Tri-State area continue to push for a ban, many businesses like his will end up shutting down.
“I will be out of business,” he said.
Bowers also believes banning the products will create a black market for e-cigarettes and the flavored juices.