Dozens of advocates for the vaping industry marched in downtown Buffalo to protest proposed New York legislation that would ban flavored vaping products across the state.
“Stopping flavored vape will actually go ahead and limit the availability of product to consenting adults,” said Brian Ellis, vice presdient of Yeti Vape stores. “So, ultimately, by taking that product away, you’re now taking 92 percent of the product that we would have away from consenting adults to use the product.”
The sellers and users of the product say it’s a safer way to wean someone off smoking cigarettes.
“Personally, I switched from combustible cigarettes to flavors, I mean they tasted better,” said Ken Gregory, co-owner of Bad Drip Labs which manufactures vaping products. “It seemed more appetizing for me to use. It’s more enjoyable and ultimately, the studies are showing that it’s no more than 5 percent of the longterm health effects so that’s what got me to switch from combustible cigarettes personally.”
Those in favor of banning flavored vapes point to study showing 20 percent of teenagers are now vaping, if there weren’t a variety of flavors they might not have started in the first place.
“Nobody thinks kids using E-cigarettes, vaping, any nicotine product is a good idea,” said Dr. Andrew Hyland with Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, which put out a statement in support of the flavor ban, saying “As companies market to children with electronic cigarette flavors such as “Unicorn Milk” and “Franken Vape,” we continue to study behavioral trends around these flavorings through a $19 million grant from National Cancer Institute.”
“We’re in agreement. We don’t want teenagers starting either,” said Ellis. The protesters feel if flavored vape is not available, teens may be more likely to smoke cigarettes.
“They would smoke cigarettes,” said Gregory. “I mean that’s what teens would be doing. That’s what it comes down to. This industry is not about getting kids using this product. If you don’t vape, you do not use E-cigarettes, you shouldn’t be vaping, you shouldn’t be using nicotine. This a smoking cessation method.”
The New York Senate Health Committee approved the flavor ban on Wednesday. It is now free to be voted on by the entire senate, possibly as early as next week.