Nov 13, 2019

Age to purchase tobacco, e-cigarettes raised to 21 in New York

Photo: Eva Hambach/AFP via Getty Images

As of Wednesday, the legal age to purchase tobacco and electronic cigarettes in the state of New York has gone up from 18 to 21 years old, NBC 4 reports.

Background: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law this summer in an attempt to curtail health threats associated with the use of tobacco products. The Health Department and New York State Police will perform undercover retail checks to determine where vaping products are sold to underage youth, according to a press release cited by CNN.

The big picture: Smoking, specifically via vape products, has been under attack in recent months as the medical community scurries to learn more about illnesses affecting e-cigarette users. There are 39 reported deaths related to vape products and over 2,000 reported cases of the mysterious illness.

  • Federal health officials recently identified vitamin E acetate as a potential culprit for the illness. The substance has been found in the lung fluids of 29 patients suffering from the sickness.

Between the lines: Vaping concerns have largely focused on young people. Whereas cigarette smoking was in decline for teens and young adults, vaping has surged in popularity — particularly with flavored liquids.

  • The New York Department of Health reports that nearly 40% of high school seniors are using e-cigarettes, while 27% of the state's high schoolers are vaping.
  • Cuomo has pushed to ban flavored e-cigs, but a state appellate court blocked New York's ban on all flavored electronic cigarettes the first week of October.

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American Medical Association calls for ban on vaping products

Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

The American Medical Association called Tuesday for a ban on e-cigarettes and vaping devices and announced that it will lobby for state and federal laws, regulations and legal action to do so, per the AP.

Why it matters: The doctors' group said the action was prompted by a surge in underage teen vaping and the recent U.S. outbreak of lung illnesses linked to vaping that has killed at least 42 people and affected more than 2,000.

Go deeperArrowNov 20, 2019

CDC confirms 2,758 hospital cases of lung injury linked to vaping

Photo: Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images

There are 2,758 confirmed hospital cases of lung injury associated with vaping in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and two U.S. territories, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports as of Feb 4.

The big picture: Nationally, most vaping-related patients with data on how they sourced products reported obtaining THC-containing products from "informal sources," per the CDC. The agency now recommends users should consider no longer vaping THC products, rather than its original claim to refrain from e-cigarettes.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 11, 2020 - Health

Mass. becomes first state to outlaw flavored tobacco and vaping products

Protestors against Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's vaping ban on the front steps of the Massachusetts State House in Boston. Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill into law on Wednesday for a sweeping ban on the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping products, including menthol cigarettes.

Why it matters: The Act Modernizing Tobacco Control law is the first of its kind prohibiting these products permanently and on a statewide basis. The ban on flavored vaping products will be effective immediately, while the outlawed sale of menthol cigarettes starts June 1, 2020 in the wake of the vaping epidemic, resulting in illnesses and deaths across the country.

Go deeper: Vaping and vitamin E acetate: What we know

Keep ReadingArrowNov 27, 2019