Just a couple of weeks ago the Vapor Technology Association (VTA) was warning: “Urgent! The New York State Senate is preparing to vote on S. 8610 that will ban the sale of vapour products in any flavour except tobacco or menthol!” The VTA urged all vapers to “call your senator now!”
The action kicked into overdrive following the unprecedented vote to ban all juice flavours in San Francisco. Suddenly advocates and vapers realised the threat to harm reduction was very real, and if New York followed suit a precedent would have been set for the nation and the world at large.
Last week, the New York State Vapor Association (NYSVA) said: “the Assembly Members are closer than ever before to acquiring what they need to have a flavour ban legislation become a reality.”
The bill was sponsored by Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, and had to aim to prohibit “the sale and distribution of flavoured e-liquid which creates a distinguishable flavour or aroma for use in e-cigarettes.”
The NYSVA’s Cheryl Richter is quoted as saying: “The vaping community in New York State were so mobilized and consistently communicative through daily and weekly emails, texts, and private messages. They were a significant contributing factor and truly dedicated to preventing a flavour ban in New York from becoming a reality.”
NYSVA’s Michael Frennier added: “We were sweating it out. Our lobbyist did a phenomenal job. We’re very pleased with the outcome. Were looking forward to this summer and fall to get ready for January. We know it will be back, this fight isn’t over, but we’ve had a good win.”
At the time of writing neither The American Vaping Association nor the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives had provided comment, both organisations credited with having provided a lot of support.
What remains clear is that the move to ban flavours hasn’t been defeated. There is the possibility of the bill being presented again (like the bid to ban vaping in Welsh public places), redrafted to gain more support or dropped altogether.
The latter option seems the least likely for, as Clive Bates writes: “The public health community is engaged in a grotesque exercise in sophistry to deny reality, to spread fear and confusion, and risk continued smoking.”