The suit accuses the vendors of enticing minors by selling child-friendly flavours such as “Lemon Twist,” “Freddy’s Pebbles” and “Whipped Salted Caramel.”
The suit accuses the vendors of targeting minors via social media, and enticing them to try the products by selling child-friendly flavours such as “Lemon Twist,” “Freddy’s Pebbles” and “Whipped Salted Caramel.” “Preying on minors and hooking them on a potentially lethal, lifelong nicotine addiction is unconscionable,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. “This lawsuit sends a message: we will do whatever it takes to protect our kids and the health of our city.”
Earlier this year, Council Health Chair Mark Levine had introduced Ordinance 1362, with the aim of banning flavoured e-cigarettes across the city. “Vaping has reached epidemic levels among teens, with life-long implications for young people who become addicted to nicotine,” said Levine at the time.
“One of the tools the industry has used to draw in teenagers is candy flavors like chocolate mint, blueberry, or cherry crush. These flavored smoking products disproportionately attract younger consumers, which is why New York City long-ago banned flavored tobacco. It’s time we did the same for e-cigarettes,” he added.
NY Governor proposes flavour ban
Meanwhile last month, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an “emergency executive action” to ban the sale of flavored e-liquids/nicotine pods, across the State of New York.
This action, said Cuomo, came in response to the rise in teen vaping, adding that further enforcement will be set in place to ensure that vape stores are not selling to minors. “Those retailers are now on notice that we are ramping up enforcement and they will be caught and prosecuted.”
Failing to enforce age limits ?
The lawsuit filed by NYC is accusing the vendors of failing to set in place age verification systems. In response to this, one of the vendors, Heather’s Heavenly Vapes, said, “We take age verification very seriously. We are not in the business of selling to anyone who is not of legal age to buy our products. We have store and online systems in place to protect against underage sales. We are looking into the matter.”
However the suit states that two city residents over the age of 18 but under 21, were able to purchase e-cigarette products from the defendants. “The Defendants shipped all of the purchased e-cigarette products to an address controlled by the New York City Sheriff’s Office and located in New York City,” says the lawsuit. “The products arrived addressed to one of the Jane Does, both of whom were underage individuals. The deliveries were made without any requirement of a signature or to show identification.”
Read Further: CNN