The mayor is taking aim against four companies that the city alleges is selling flavored e-cigarettes in violation of local, state, and federal law.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has filed a federal lawsuit to block the sale of flavored e-cigarettes that could appeal to underage users.
According to CBS News, Adams said that e-cigarettes contain addictive and potentially carcinogenic compounds.
“There is nothing more important than the health of young New Yorkers, but while these four distributors have chosen profits over people, we won’t sit idly by as they continue to poison our children,” he said.
“Those who say that these products are safe, that is 100% false,” Adams said. “These products are packed with nicotine, a toxic and highly addictive chemical that is particularly damaging to adolescent minds and bodies.”
“We will do whatever it takes to keep our children safe, and today’s lawsuit seeks to put an end to the greedy, harmful, and openly illegal behavior of these four nicotine pushers,” the mayor added.
In a press conference, Adams suggested that some e-cigarettes and vapes include nicotine concentrations equivalent to hundreds of conventional, combustible cigarettes.
CBS News notes that the lawsuit was filed against the following four distributors:
- Star Vape;
- Demand Vape;
- Magellan Technology Inc.; and
- Empire Vape Distributors.
New York City officials say that the defendants sell e-cigarettes to businesses across the Empire State, and—in some cases—directly to consumers online.
“Flavors included exotic fruits, candy, dessert-like tastes—and all clearly designed to appeal to young people,” Corporation Counsel Sylvia Hinds-Radix said.
“The city’s lawsuit represents a significant enforcement step against distributors that are fueling an epidemic of e-cigarette use among youth in our city,” Hinds-Radix added. “These defendants continue to supply retail outlets throughout the city with nicotine-laced disposable e-cigarettes in exotic fruit, candy, and dessert-like flavors that are clearly designed to appeal to young people in violation of multiple federal, state, and local laws. The aim of this lawsuit is to put a stop to this illegal conduct and protect our youth against these highly addictive and dangerous products.”
The lawsuit, notes CBS News, broadly accuses e-cigarette distributors of violating city, state, and federal laws, including RICO statutes, which were originally designed to facilitate the prosecution of mafia-type organized crime groups.
“RICO charges, you go after bloodthirsty profiteers, right?” said Meredith Berman, co-founder of Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes. “These are gangsters. And that is exactly what these companies are, because they’re using flavors to addict kids.”
The City of New York suggests that, consistent with national trends, e-cigarette consumption in city-administered schools has risen in recent years.
According to some estimates, about 15.2% of all public high school students said that they regularly use e-cigarettes and related products.