New York’s Governor Cuomo’s executive action doesn’t go far enough

NEW YORK – The American Heart Association is very disappointed with the limited scope of the emergency executive action Gov. Cuomo took today, Sept. 15,  which would ban the sale of certain flavored e-cigarettes, and hopes that there is an opportunity to include all flavored tobacco products, including menthol combustible cigarettes.

“This morning’s announcement by Gov. Cuomo simply does not go far enough to protect New Yorkers from the health risks associated with tobacco use and nicotine addiction,” said Caitlin O’Brien, the American Heart Association’s government relations director for New York state. “While candy flavored e-cigarettes are hooking youth, so are mint and menthol flavored e-cigarettes and combustible menthol cigarettes. Mint and menthol flavoring in all tobacco products makes it easier to start using and harder to quit.”

In 2009, flavored combustible cigarettes were banned from sale nationally, with the exception of menthol cigarettes. Since then, menthol cigarettes have grown in popularity, with more than half of all youth and young adult smokers using them, along with 85% of African American smokers.

“We cannot leave menthol cigarettes on the table once again,” O’Brien said. “We know that menthol cigarettes have been successfully promoted and marketed disproportionately to youth and African American communities for decades. Restricting the sale of all flavors in all tobacco products is a must if we want to eliminate tobacco use and keep future generations from ever picking up this dangerous addiction. We urge the state Department of Health’s Public Health and Health Planning Council, to take this one step further in order to help curb combustible tobacco use by removing flavors from all deadly tobacco products.”

Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker will hold an emergency meeting with the Public Health and Health Planning Council this week in order to get approval to ban flavored e-cigarettes.