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Mayor Adams leads effort to combat rising youth nicotine addiction

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Mayor Eric Adams and Corporation Counsel Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix have announced that the City of New York is taking legal action against 11 companies accused of illegally distributing flavored disposable e-cigarettes.

The lawsuit, filed in the New York County State Supreme Court, targets wholesalers across Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, and upstate New York for their role in supplying youth-friendly e-cigarette flavors to retailers and consumers, in blatant violation of federal, state, and city laws.

The defendants allegedly distributed popular disposable e-cigarette flavors such as Strawberry Colada, Mellow Mint, Blueberry Energize, and Frozen Creamsicle to vape shops, convenience stores, and online consumers, directly fueling nicotine addiction among middle and high school students.

Mayor Adams emphasized the administration’s commitment to safeguarding public health, particularly that of vulnerable children, from the predatory practices of companies profiting from illegal vape sales. “Part of protecting public safety means protecting the health of New Yorkers, including our most vulnerable – our children – and this administration is committed to enforcing the law when it comes to illegal vape sales,” Mayor Adams stated.

Corporation Counsel Hinds-Radix echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the city’s determination to combat the epidemic of e-cigarette use among young people and its detrimental impact on public health. “The City of New York will use every tool it can against businesses that are fueling the epidemic of e-cigarette use among young people and undermining public health,” stated Hinds-Radix.

The lawsuit seeks to halt further sales of these illegal items, impose penalties, and recover damages under state and city statutes. This legal action builds on the city’s ongoing enforcement efforts, including a 2023 federal lawsuit that resulted in court orders against two defendants, prohibiting their sales and shipments of flavored e-cigarettes into the city.

The crackdown on flavored e-cigarettes is part of a broader strategy outlined by Mayor Adams in his State of the City address earlier this year. The administration aims to secure increased local enforcement authority to inspect and shut down illegal smoke shops, while supporting the equitable growth of the legal cannabis market.

E-cigarettes pose a significant health risk due to their high nicotine content and attractive flavors targeted at youth. Federal health authorities have warned that such products tempt young individuals to vape excessively, contributing to a surge in nicotine addiction among middle and high school students.

Recent data underscores the urgency of these measures, with e-cigarette use among young people nearly doubling between 2017 and 2019. The lawsuit highlights the city’s commitment to leveraging all available resources to protect New Yorkers, particularly the next generation, from the harmful consequences of illegal vaping, tobacco, and cannabis products.

The legal action has garnered support from state legislators and city council members who share concerns about the impact of flavored e-cigarettes on public health, especially among adolescents. Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal praised the city’s efforts to hold corporations accountable for their role in perpetuating youth tobacco addiction.

In light of the lawsuit, New York City continues to intensify its crackdown on unlicensed establishments selling illegal vaping products and other prohibited substances. Since Mayor Adams took office, the city has imposed substantial penalties on offenders, closed numerous illegal businesses, and conducted thousands of inspections to combat the illicit sale of these products.

The lawsuit against the 11 companies signals a decisive step in Mayor Adams’ administration’s commitment to prioritize public health and safety, particularly in combating the alarming trend of youth nicotine addiction driven by the illegal sale of flavored e-cigarettes.

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