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Battle Against Illegal Flavored Vape Products

In recent years, New York has been at the forefront of efforts to combat the sale of flavored vape products, which have long been considered a potential health hazard for young people. However, despite the ban implemented three years ago, there are still distributors flouting the law, engaging in what former New York City Sheriff Edgar Domenech refers to as organized criminal activity. This concerning issue has prompted the need for further action to address the sale of illegal flavored vape products within the state.

The Battle Against Illegal Flavored Vape Products

Earlier this month, New York City Mayor Eric Adams took a significant step by initiating a lawsuit against four vape distributors. These distributors are allegedly targeting minors by continuing to sell the now-banned flavored vape products. Domenech commends this legal action as a potential path forward for addressing the issue, expressing the importance of other states replicating this model to combat distributors who endanger the lives of our children with counterfeit vape products.

The Impact on Small Businesses

While the proliferation of illegal vape products poses a threat to public health, it also negatively affects small businesses that are diligently following the law. Mom-and-pop operators strive to operate legitimately, paying taxes on tobacco products and only selling authorized merchandise. However, the prevalence of counterfeit products undermines their efforts and puts them at a disadvantage. The lack of enforcement compounds the problem, leaving business owners frustrated and in need of support.

Addressing Existing Laws and Enforcement

Kent Sopris, the President of the New York Association of Convenience Stores, emphasizes the need for further action to address existing laws surrounding flavored vape products. He asserts that coordination, infrastructure, funding, and strong enforcement are essential elements in effectively combating this issue. The push to crack down on illegal vape products comes at a time when New York is also grappling with the challenge of unlicensed marijuana sales in the legal marketplace.

Potential Consequences of a National Ban

As federal regulators contemplate a nationwide ban on all flavored tobacco products, including menthol, Sopris raises concerns that such a measure could exacerbate the situation. In the past, a proposal for a statewide ban failed to gain traction among lawmakers. The complexity of the issue and the potential unintended consequences warrant careful consideration and thorough evaluation of the available options.


The sale of illegal flavored vape products in New York remains a pressing concern. Efforts have been made to combat this problem, such as Mayor Adams' lawsuit against four vape distributors, which has garnered praise for its potential to serve as a model for other states. However, more work is needed to address existing laws, enforce regulations, and ensure the protection of young people and legitimate businesses alike.


1. Why are flavored vape products considered a health hazard for young people? Flavored vape products are deemed a health hazard for young people due to their appeal and potential to initiate nicotine addiction. The attractive flavors mask the harsh taste of tobacco, making it easier for young individuals to start using these products, leading to long-term health risks.

2. How are distributors flouting the ban on flavored vape products? Some distributors are engaging in organized criminal activity by continuing to sell banned flavored vape products, despite the existing regulations. This poses a significant challenge to enforcement agencies and requires more robust measures to combat the issue effectively.

3. How does the sale of illegal vape products impact small businesses? Small businesses that adhere to the law and sell only legitimate vape products face unfair competition from distributors selling counterfeit or illegal items. This not only undermines their efforts but also puts them at a financial disadvantage, potentially leading to losses and closures.

4. What is being done to address the issue of illegal flavored vape products in New York? New York City Mayor Eric Adams has taken legal action against four vape distributors, alleging that they are illegally targeting minors. This lawsuit is seen as a positive step towards addressing the problem. However, more comprehensive enforcement and coordination efforts are necessary.

5. How might a national ban on flavored tobacco products impact the situation? While a national ban on flavored tobacco products is under consideration, there are concerns that it could worsen the situation. The complexity of the issue requires careful evaluation of potential consequences, as evidenced by a previous failed proposal for a statewide ban in New York.


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