LITTLE VALLEY — Six Cattaraugus County lawmakers are sponsoring a local law to ban the sale and distribution of flavored liquid, or “juice,” for e-cigarettes.
The county Board of Health voted last month to recommend the County Legislature enact a ban on the flavored e-juice or pods for vaping because they are popular with adolescents who are getting addicted to nicotine.
The county legislators who have signed on as sponsors include the chairman of the legislature, the majority leader and chairman and vice chairman of the Human Services Committee as well two committee members and the minority leader.
Cattaraugus County has been among the leaders in counties enforcing the New York Clean Indoor Air Act and hiking the age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.
Local health officials were blindsided by the popularity of e-cigarettes including Juul, a small device that looks something like a computer thumb drive. The flavored e-juice masked the amount of nicotine teens were inhaling and many have become addicted to nicotine.
While Juul has agreed to a directive by the Food and Drug Administration not to market the flavored e-pods, other manufacturers jumped in to distribute Juul-compatible flavored e-juice pods.
The proposed county law would ban the sale of all flavored pods.
The proposed local law amends a local law enacted in 2011 to regulate e-cigarettes and herbal cigarettes would be amended to “prohibit the sale and distribution of flavored e-liquids for use in e-cigarettes sold in Cattaraugus County.
“E-cigarettes and liquid nicotine products may only be offered for sale in Cattaraugus County if they are flavorless or tobacco flavored,” the proposed local law states.
The local law states that the nicotine pod flavors offered are attractive to the young. The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control have found a 50% increase in e-cigarette use by middle school students and 80% by high school students.
Youths cite the flavor as the reason for vaping, the local law notes.
Limiting the “flavors” to tobacco flavor “would reduce children’s interest while allowing adults to continue to use e-cigarettes as a tobacco replacement or for smoking cessation,” the local law states.
The sponsors are County Legislature Chairman James J. Snyder, R-Olean; Majority Leader and Human Services Committee Chairman Donna Vickman, R-Farmersville; Vice Chairman Barbara Hastings, D-Allegany; Minority Leader Susan Labuhn, D-Salamanca; Richard Helmich, R-Deleval and Norman Marsh, R-Little Valley.
The proposed local law will be discussed by the County Legislature’s Human Services and Finance committees next Wednesday.
If approved, it would take effect 60 days after passage and filing with the New York Secretary of State’s Office.
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)