The protesters are backing a bill sponsored by City Councilman Mark Levine, and are urging the City Council to restrict the infamous manufacturer from selling flavored nicotine pods. “[The bill] would ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in New York City as a way to protect our kids,” said Levine.
Amongst the protesters was a sixteen year old who managed to quit vaping. “Kids start with flavored pods,” said 16-year-old Phillip Fuhrman. “When my mom took my first one away from me and I started to feel the withdrawal symptoms, that was the first time I realized I was addicted.”
“I’m trying to help my friends who are already addicted get off and help younger people who haven’t started yet not even touch it,” he added. Philip’s mother, Dorian Fuhrman, co-founded Parents Against Vaping. “There is a youth epidemic of vaping right now, and unless we ban the flavors, we’re going to see more and more kids addicted to nicotine,” she said.
Juul says its doing its utmost to prevent teen vaping
“We have never marketed to youth, do not sell flavors like cotton candy or bubble gum, and strongly advocated for Tobacco 21 legislation here in New York. In November 2018 we stopped selling non-tobacco and non-menthol-based flavors to traditional retail stores, which represented 50% of our revenue at that time.”
Meanwhile last November, Juul who has been doing its utmost to regain its credibility, had announced that it was pulling its flavored pods from over 90,000 stores nationwide.
In response to the protest, a Juul spokesperson pointed out that the company is doing is actively taking steps to prevent teen vaping. “We have never marketed to youth, do not sell flavors like cotton candy or bubble gum, and strongly advocated for Tobacco 21 legislation here in New York. In November 2018 we stopped selling non-tobacco and non-menthol-based flavors to traditional retail stores, which represented 50% of our revenue at that time.”
“All of our non-traditional tobacco-flavored pods are now exclusively sold through our ecommerce platform, which features an industry-leading, third-party, age-verification system that puts every purchase through a rigorous, multi-step process to ensure that the customer is 21 or older and restricts bulk purchasing. We offer these products in this limited, secure way because they play an important role in helping smokers switch by providing users with a taste and aroma different than traditional tobacco,” added the spokesperson.
The well-being of adult smokers should not be sacrificed
Inline with this, Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, pointed out that the well-being of smoking adults should not be sacrificed in order to protect kids. “The positive effects on adults overwhelmingly go over any negative effects for youth,” he said. “Obviously, we don’t want the youth to use these vapor products, but we can’t take them away from the adults that help them quit smoking.”
Read Further: CBS New York