NEW YORK (NEWS10) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced several actions to address the surge vaping-related illnesses on Monday, including legislation that calls for a ban on flavored e-cigarettes.
The governor’s office says it will direct the state Department of Health to subpoena manufacturers of thickening agents used in vaping products. Cuomo will also direct the department to issue emergency regulations requiring vape shops to post warnings about the products.
State health officials are urging New Yorkers to stop using vaping products while they continue tan investigation into the cause of hundreds of vaping-associated illnesses reported nationwide.
“Common sense says if you do not know what you are smoking, don’t smoke it, and right now we don’t know what you are smoking in a lot of these vaping substances,” Cuomo said.
The heath department has investigated 34 reports of severe pulmonary illness in New York. In the “vast majority” of cases, the patient had vaped bootleg cartridges containing THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
Investigators zeroed in on lab tests that showed high levels of vitamin E acetate in nearly all cannabis-containing samples analyzed by the Wadsworth Center. At least one vitamin E acetate containing vape product has been linked to each patient who submitted a product for testing, the department said.
The New York State Vapor Association, however, is cautioning against sweeping new regulations on the regulated e-cigarette market.
In a statement, the lobbying group said, “Confusing e-cigarettes with unregulated street drugs will likely cause hundreds of thousands of New York vapers many of whom have never used illicit THC products to return to smoking cigarettes after being smoke-free for years.”
The governor’s office said three companies that market thickening agents to vaporizer manufactured will be subpoened: Honey Cut Labs LLC in Santa Monica, California; Floraplex Terpenes in Ypsilanti, Michigan; and Pure Mass Terpenes in Amherst, Massachusetts. T
Other companies are likely to be subpoenaed as well, the governor said.
Patients who became ill reported a variety of symptoms that developed over days and weeks, including:
- Pulmonary symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, chest pain)
- Gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea)
- Weight loss