MAYVILLE – A motion to support state legislation to ban the use of flavored e-cigarette liquids did not pass during this week’s Chautauqua County Legislature meeting.
The motion, sponsored by Legislature Chairman P.J. Wendel, was his attempt to address the rising concern of vaping in public schools.
The Vice President of Yeti Vape, Brian Ellis, spoke against the measure during the public comment section of the meeting. Ellis says banning the flavors would open a black market for the product.
“Let’s not penalize the adult nicotine consumer whose made a successful transition from cigarettes to vaping,” said Ellis. “A flavor ban is not the answer. It would be just the beginning of a black market where people would get product with no quality control that may cause illness.”
Ellis said in order to address the youth vaping epidemic, laws will have to be passed to properly regulate the product.
“Eliminate child friendly distribution points. Vapor products should only be available in dedicated vapor shops similar to how liquor is sold in New York State,” said Ellis.
Ellis also said stores that sell vaping products should use electronic age verification and eliminate brands that target children directly.
As a coach and physical education teacher, Wendel says his primary concern is his student’s safety.
“I’ve had kids come to me saying they have tried vaping and somehow they were addicted to vaping,” said Wendel. “I’ve had school administrators come to me saying it is a growing issue they have.”
The lawmaker says he doesn’t want to attack the vaping industry but, rather, look for a good solution to stop young people from vaping.
Wendel says he looks forward to working with companies like Yeti Vape on proposing viable regulations for the industry.
This month, New York became the first state to ban the sale of flavors used in e-cigarettes. However, the emergency regulation will expire in 90 days unless it’s renewed.
According to data from the state health department, nearly 40% of high school seniors and 27% of high school students use e-cigarettes.
Nationwide, health officials are investigating hundreds of cases of serious breathing illnesses in people who use e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.