Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an emergency ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes across New York State.

On Sunday, Cuomo announced an emergency executive action to ban the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes in New York State. According to the governor's office, the move is the latest in a series of actions to combat the increasing number of youth using vape products, largely driven by e-cigarette companies marketing flavors that are intended to get children addicted to nicotine.

"New York is confronting this crisis head-on and today we are taking another nation-leading step to combat a public health emergency," Cuomo said in a statement. "Manufacturers of fruit and candy-flavored e-cigarettes are intentionally and recklessly targeting young people, and today we're taking action to put an end to it. At the same time, unscrupulous stores are knowingly selling vaping products to underage youth - those retailers are now on notice that we are ramping up enforcement and they will be caught and prosecuted."

To crackdown on retailers selling tobacco and vaping products to underage youth, State Police are partnering with the DOH to conduct undercover investigations across the state under The Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act, which enlists underage youth to attempt to buy tobacco and e-cigarette products. Retailers found selling tobacco and vaping products to underage individuals will now face criminal penalties in addition to civil penalties.

The dramatic increase in the use of e-cigarettes by youth is driven in large part by flavored e-liquids, and flavors are a principal reason that youth initiate and maintain e-cigarette use, officials say.

According to Department of Health data, nearly 40 percent of 12th-grade students and 27 percent of high school students in New York State are now using e-cigarettes. High school use in 2018 is 160 percent higher than it was in 2014. The increase is largely driven by flavored e-liquids, according to the governor's office.

"E-cigarettes have been implicated as a key indicator in the upward trend of the use of tobacco products among youths in recent years. These regulations will help curb this dangerous trend and will further safeguard the health of all New Yorkers, especially among underage youths," New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said.

According to the governor's office, E-cigarette flavors such as mint chocolate, bubblegum, cotton candy and cherry cola create a deceptive belief that they are not harmful.

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