In Ithaca, Some Customers Disapprove Of State Ban On Flavored Vape Products

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Update: 10/4 1:15PM 

ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – Enforcement of New York’s flavored e-cigarette ban was blocked by an appellate court less than 24 hours before it was to go into effect.*

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced it two weeks ago after an increase in vaping related illnesses in the state.

Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports over 1,000 people have become sick and 18 deaths tied to the vaping-related illness.**

The New York State Department of Health is investigating nine patients in central New York who might have vaping related illnesses.

Celia Clarke/WSKG Public Media

A sign in the window of a vape shop on the Ithaca Commons. October 2, 2019. (Celia Clarke/WSKG)

The region includes Broome, Tioga and Tompkins counties.

In Ithaca, Unique E-Cigarettes sits in among a small strip of shops near downtown. As you enter, you’re enveloped in a light haze of vapor fog. It smells slightly sweet.

The shop sells vaping equipment and fluids.

Travis Waterman sits at the counter with some friends. They’re in their twenties and thirties. None of them agree with the new ban.

Waterman said he began smoking when he was 11 and vaping is the only thing that has helped him to quit cigarettes. He said he likes the flavors.

“I don’t want to go to a tobacco flavor because that’s what I was trying to get away from and the flavors have kinda helped me with that,” he said. “So, now, I’m a little worried about how I’m actually going to be able to keep vaping.”

His friend, Brooke Mason said she doesn’t think a ban will stop teenagers  from vaping. She has two teenaged sisters who vape. Mason said, it’s not about the flavors, it’s a trend and teens are doing it to be cool.

“I think that kids are going to get it regardless,” she said,  “I mean they can have people buy it for them that are of age, they can get it, they have like fake, they get like a ton of fake IDs sometimes. It’s like alcohol.”

The shop now offers over one hundred flavors. If the new ban goes into effect it will only be able to sell eight.

* This story was updated to add information about a court decision on Thursday afternoon blocking the enforcement of the ban.

** This story was updated to update the number of case and deaths reported by the CDC. On Thursday evening the CDC reported over 1,000 cases not over 800 and deaths are now 18 not 12.