NEWS: NY officials not enforcing ban on flavored vapes
New York officials are doing a crummy job of enforcing the ban of flavored vapes amid a thriving black market, according to a new survey.
Fifty three percent of Empire State residents said authorities are doing only a fair or poor job in enforcing the ban, compared to 27% of respondents who considered the efforts either good or excellent — a nearly 2-1 gap, the poll conducted by Siena College Research Institute for the NYS Association of Convenience Stores found.
Residents were split on whether officials were protecting New Yorkers from the sale of illegal flavored vape products — 42% said they were satisfied and 43% not satisfied.
New York and the federal government approved laws banning the sale of flavored e-cigarettes or vapes popular with young people and adolescents in 2020.
But the survey found that only 39% of residents even knew flavored vapes were outlawed, compared to 53% who responded they didn’t know, the poll obtained by The Post Sunday reveals.
An overwhelming 60% of New Yorkers support the ban on the illegal flavored disposable vapes, compared to 27% of poll respondents who are opposed.
However, 61% of residents said the state has done a subpar job of educating New Yorkers about the prohibition, whereas just 30% of respondents said they’re doing a good or excellent job.
Last year, Mayor Eric Adams filed a lawsuit against four distributors allegedly selling flavored vapes to retail vape and smoke shops. Only tobacco-flavored and unflavored vapes are legal.
The Association of Convenience Stores also filed cease and desist letters last September to rapper Snoop Dogg, former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson and wrestler Hulk Hogan for allegedly peddling banned flavored nicotine vapes.
New Yorkers say they want tougher enforcement and stricter penalties for violating tobacco smoking and vaping laws. Among the survey’s other findings:
64% support authorizing the Department of Tax and Finance to enforce vaping laws as they were authorized last year to do with cannabis shops, compared to 18% who opposed the use of tax probes.
68% said they support slapping retailers with stiffer fines for selling illegal products, compared to 21% who objected.
By a 74%–16% margin, they support Attorney General Letitia James taking legal action against wholesalers and distributors that supply illegal flavored vaping products to retailers.
Two-thirds of residents also support immediately shutting down retailers that illegally sell tobacco without a tobacco license.
“New Yorkers want regulators to do their jobs and enforce the ban, because they believe the health and safety of their children and their communities are at risk,” said Kent Sopris, NYACS president.
“We urge the Legislature to strengthen enforcement laws in the budget so authorities can do just that. The NYS Department of Tax and Finance should be authorized to license e-vapor wholesalers as well as investigate and seize illegal products. These are important steps to create the necessary infrastructure to enforce the law, get these illegal flavored disposable vapes off our streets and hold the bad actors selling them accountable.”
The survey also found widespread satisfaction with the access to convenience stores in their community — 83% of residents said there’s an ample supply of such merchants and 69% said they shop at convenience stores at least several times a month — one-third at least once a week.
The Siena College survey of 812 state residents was conducted from Jan. 8-11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.