Capitol Watch: Doomsday for e-cigs?

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — In New York state government news, lawmakers are taking aim at e-cigarettes amid a worrisome wave of lung illnesses thought to be linked to the popular products.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed banning all flavored e-cigs, while state lawmakers have proposed restrictions on the sale of the liquid cartridges used to refill vaping devices.

At least three different proposals to restrict electronic cigarettes and vaping devices emerged last week.

One bill, from Sen. Kevin Thomas, D-Long Island, would ban the sale of liquid cartridges, which Thomas says are often sold on the black market and can be refilled with illegal or unknown substances.

Another, from Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, would ban all e-cigarettes until the federal Food and Drug Administration approves their use.

U.S. health officials have identified 380 cases of illness in 36 states and one territory, including six deaths. No single device or ingredient has been tied to all the illnesses. Many of those who were sickened said they’d been vaping THC.

“With hundreds of cases of mysterious respiratory illness and deaths linked to vaping and very little information about the long-term effects of e-cigarettes, the only reasonable approach is to stop the distribution of e-cigarettes until the FDA says e-cigarettes are safe,” Rosenthal said.

Cuomo suggested banning all flavored e-cigs as a way to discourage teens from picking up the nicotine habit. Similar proposals have already been introduced in Albany, along with other proposals to require warning labels on vaping devices and ban coupons for vape devices or liquid.

State health experts are now investigating the wave of illnesses. Cuomo and state health officials have advised New Yorkers not to vape until the products are deemed safe.

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