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Lawmaker Proposes Ban For Vaping Materials Disguised As School Supplies

Vaping products made to look like school supplies are in the crosshairs of state Sen. Monica Martinez.

Martinez, D-Hauppauge, recently introduced S.7882 to amend the state Public Health Law with a new subdivision to prohibit businesses that sell tobacco products, herbal cigarettes, liquid nicotine, shisha, electronic cigarettes, rolling papers or smoking paraphernalia from carrying vaping products designed to resemble youth school supplies or that have product packaging tailored or advertised to youth.

The Federal Drug Administration sent letters to several online retailers in November for selling and/or distributing unauthorized e-cigarettes. The unauthorized e-cigarettes are packaged to look like youth-appealing toys and drink containers, including milk cartons, soft drink bottles, and slushies. The products’ design may also help youth conceal the e-cigarettes from adults or be confused with an everyday object and the contents accidently ingested by young children.

Examples of new vaping and e-cigarette packaging include products designed to resemble cartoon, movie or video game characters, toys and electronic devices and school supplies including markers, highlighters, ballpoint pens and thumb drives.

“Research shows a younger person is more likely to become addicted to nicotine products as their brains are still developing,” Martinez wrote in her legislative justification. “We are further seeing the potential for other harmful drugs such as fentanyl to become laced with marijuana in vape pens, as seen through a near-death incident occurring in New Rochelle High School. In an industry that continues to innovate and manufacture products designed to entice usage by the youth population, it is critical we provide safeguards in our state.”

As of November 2023, FDA has issued approximately 630 warning letters to firms for manufacturing and/or distributing illegal e-cigarette products and devices, issued more than 400 warning letters to retailers for the sale of unauthorized e-cigarettes, filed civil money penalty complaints against 35 e-cigarette manufacturers and 42 retailers for manufacture or sale of unauthorized products, and worked with the Department of Justice to seek injunctions against six manufacturers of unauthorized e-cigarettes.

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