NEW YORK FLAVOR BAN PASSES Early this morning, despite enormous industry and consumer pushback, the New York State legislature passed a sweeping vapor bill that included a full flavor ban as part of the New York State budget. As we reported earlier, Governor Cuomo had made this a priority – even during the coronavirus fight – and forced the flavor ban into the state budget without so much as a hearing or debate on the issue. VTA’s campaign, alongside New York vape businesses and the most fervent consumer advocates, was strong but hampered by the inability to engage legislators or even test the flavor ban at a hearing because the legislature was on lock down due to coronavirus. VTA has issued a statement on the passing. Here are just a few of the provisions included in the budget bill affecting our industry: Flavor Ban: The new law bans the sale of flavored vapor products including mint, wintergreen and menthol. Retailers in violation of the law can be subject to civil penalties of up to $100 per individual package of flavor product sold for consumption. Products receiving PMTA approval are exempt from this provision. Because the bill was signed today, the flavor ban will go into effect in 45 days. Coupons Banned: The law bans the use of coupons for all tobacco and vapor products at the retail level. Licensing and Shipping: Shipping and transporting vapor products in New York will require licensure as a vapor products dealer. Licensing is through the Commissioner of Taxation. Vapor products shipped into or within the state must be plainly marked as “vapor products.” First offense violation is a class A misdemeanor and a second offense is a class E felony. Product Ingredient Reporting: Manufacturers will be required to provide a public record of the ingredients and byproducts of each vapor product, in addition to research on the effects on human health for each ingredient listed, and the evaluation of potential alternatives to these ingredients along with the hazards associated with them. Compliance is required by January 1, 2021 and every two years thereafter. A first offense violation is $5,000 and each subsequent offense is $10,000. Advertising Restriction: Tobacco and vapor product advertising is not permitted in the windows and doors of retail establishments within 1500 feet of a school (500 feet in New York City). Violators are subject to a $500 fine. The provisions of this law will take effect on July 1, 2020 unless otherwise noted above. VAPOR TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION, et al. v. ANDREW CUOMO, Governor, et al. The lawsuit through which VTA stopped the executive flavor ban last year, keeping all vapor companies in business in New York, continues on. In the last two weeks, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Administration asked the Appellate Court to reopen so it could pursue its appeal claiming it was “urgent”. The Appellate Court agreed to hear the case, we are continuing to defend against the unconstitutional overreach of the executive branch in issuing its original flavor ban order. We will see where the case goes in light of today’s developments but, true to form, certain “public health” groups attempted to file a “friends of the court” brief seeking to impact the proceeding. Attached is the VTA’s response that calls out the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, American Lung Association and the other petitioners, for their filing in which they appear to intentionally mislead the Appellate Court by failing to advise the court that the FDA banned the flavored products they have been campaigning against and by falsely attacking one of our co-plaintiffs.