New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issues emergency executive order to ban flavored e-cigarettes

PHOTO: Governor Andrew Cuomo holds a press conference on vaping in New York, Sept. 15, 2019. PlayABC News
WATCH Cuomo issues emergency executive action to ban flavored e-cigs

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued an emergency executive order to ban the sales of flavored e-cigarettes in an effort to crack down on sales to minors.

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The order is Cuomo's next move on vaping after he announced his plan on Monday to ban flavored e-cigarettes amid growing national health concerns about vaping.

State officials will also ramp up efforts to penalize retailers who sell tobacco and e-cigarettes to minors.

According to data from the New York State Department of Health, nearly 40% of 12th grade high school seniors and 27% of high school students overall "are not using e-cigarettes," according to a press release.

PHOTO: Governor Andrew Cuomo holds a press conference on vaping in New York, Sept. 15, 2019. ABC News
Governor Andrew Cuomo holds a press conference on vaping in New York, Sept. 15, 2019.

In a press conference on Sunday, Cuomo blamed the 160% increase from 2014 on flavors such as bubble gum, cotton candy and "Captain Crunch" that are "obviously targeted to young people."

"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."

E-cigarette flavors such as menthol and tobacco will not be banned based on recommendations from New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, as cigarette smokers often rely on e-cigarettes to wean off cigarettes when "nothing else" has worked, Cuomo said.

However, "that could change in the future," Cuomo added.

On Thursday, Cuomo signed an executive order directing state agencies to deploy education awareness programs on vaping, which will then be implemented into school systems, according to the release.

The state of New York will also raise the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21 beginning Nov. 13.