Attorney General James cracks down on selling of e-cigarettes to underage customers

State News

FILE – In this April 23, 2014 file photo, a man smokes an electronic cigarette in Chicago. Teen vapers prefer Juul and mint is the #1 flavor among many of them, suggesting a shift after the company’s fruit and dessert flavors were removed from retail stores, U.S. research suggests. The results are in a pair of studies published Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, including a report from the Food and Drug Administration and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicating that the U.S. teen vaping epidemic shows no signs of slowing down. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

NEW YORK (NEWS10) – New York Attorney General Letitia James ordered dozens of retailers across the state to immediately stop the sale of flavored vaping products, as well as to stop selling e-cigarettes to underage customers. Attorney General James’ office issued cease and desist letters to 47 retailers that were illegally selling tobacco products throughout New York state in Albany, Buffalo, Elmira, Hamilton, Nassau, Rochester, Saratoga County, Syracuse, Warren County, Watertown, and the New York City area.

The pervasiveness of the sale of vaping products to young buyers in New York state prompted Attorney General James’ office to hold a roundtable to explore solutions and perspectives from young students, parents, and elected officials. 

“New York banned flavored vaping products and raised the age to buy tobacco products because teens were getting addicted to the dangerous habit of smoking,” said Attorney General James. “These businesses skirted the law, jeopardizing the health of young New Yorkers. We will remain vigilant in holding anyone accountable who endanger our children by circumventing our laws.”

Investigators from Attorney General James’ office found that retailers were violating state law by:

  • Selling nicotine products to underage purchasers
  • Selling flavored nicotine vaping products
  • Selling flavored liquid alongside vaping products for customers to create their own flavored vaping products.  

The illicit products were sold both in the open and secretly from behind the counter.

In total, Attorney General James’ office investigated 108 retailers, some of which were located near middle schools and high schools. Among those retailers, investigators found that 47 of them were violating the law, some in multiple instances. 

In New York, it is illegal to sell nicotine products to individuals under the age of 21. As of May 2020, it is illegal to sell flavored nicotine products in New York and, as of July 2020, it is illegal to sell vaping products online and through mail order to New York consumers. 

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