Hold on flavored e-cigarette ‘vape ban’ gives vape shop owners a sigh of relief


Local shop owner says he's "angry but not surprised" by move

HAMLIN & ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The flavored e-cigarette ban is on hold — at least for now. With enforcement scheduled to begin Friday, New York has around 700 vaping shops across the state breathing a sigh of relief.

On Thursday, the New York State Appellate Division granted a temporary restraining order in the lawsuit brought by the Vapor Technology Association and others in regards to the proposed flavor.

“I got right on the phone and called the most important people in my life,” said Nicholas Stumpf with The Joint Smoke Shop in Hamlin.

Stumpf said he lost about $6,000 since the ban was announced last month. He slashed prices to get rid of products before the fines and inspections started. But he says for other vape shop owners, it’s too late. 

“There’s some guys that already shut down,” says Stumpf.

Hundreds of shops across the state have already felt the impacts of the ban — event though it hasn’t even gone into effect yet.

“Yeah, there’s a bunch…there’s a bunch,” said Andrew Ribble with the Liquid Cloud Lounge in Rochester. He stuck it out, slashing inventory as well. While today’s decision was a welcome one, Ribble’s still out thousands himself.  “I’m angry… but not surprised they did this,” he said.

Ribble said he doesn’t mind further discussion on vaping and what can be done to make it safer, if the studies show that. 

“This can ultimately be remedied, there’s common sense things we can do with legislation,” Ribble said.

The final legislation and fate of flavored e-cigarettes is yet to be written by lawmakers.

For the time being, Ribble, Stumpf, and other vape shop owners across the state are hanging in and open for business tomorrow. But the mission is still not over. 

“Stick together. Fight it. Write your senators, Congressmembers, the president, write whoever will listen and make as much noise as possible,” said Ribble.

In a statement from Dr. Howard Zucker, New York’s Health Commissioner, he said, “It is undeniable that the vaping industry is using flavored e-cigarettes to get young people hooked on potentially dangerous and deadly products. While the court’s ruling temporarily delays our scheduled enforcement of this ban, it will not deter us from using every tool at our disposal to address this crisis. Make no mistake: this is a public health emergency that demands immediate action to help ensure the wellbeing of our children, and we’re confident that once the court hears our argument they will agree.”

Dr. Howard Zucker, New York Health Commissioner

A ruling is set for October 18 on the lawsuit and further discussion of the ban.

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