A pair of Democratic state lawmakers on Thursday called for a ban on internet sales of vaping products amid illnesses believed to be linked to their use.
The measure is backed by Senate Health Committee Chairman Gustavo Rivera and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and would, in essence, treat e-cigarettes and other vaping devices to the same standard of distribution and sale for tobacco products online.
“The alarming public health incidents involving vaping confirm the worst nightmares of parents who were already alarmed by the increased use of Juul and other vape pens by teenagers,” Paulin said.
“I have heard from student activists in my district who tell me that it is far easier to obtain electronic cigarettes and other vaping products from Internet retailers than to go to a physical store, since websites make only a rudimentary attempt to verify age. It simply makes no sense that you’re prohibited from buying addictive tobacco cigarettes online, but you can buy addictive electronic cigarettes online.”
The proposal comes as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has banned the sale of flavored tobacco products through executive action, which is being challenged in court by the vaping industry. The challenge won a delay in the implementation of the ban as the court case is being heard.
Cuomo and lawmakers, meanwhile, are promising legislative action next year on the issue. The state’s first death attributed to vaping use was reported this week: A 17-year-old resident in the Bronx.