New York Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chairman of Committee on Health

Chairman of Committee on Health New York Senator Gustavo Rivera

New York Senator Gustavo Rivera

By Angela Underwood

It’s been two weeks since the e-cigarette ban, and the New York State Committee on Health chairman said officials are determined to uphold and maintain the highest standards of health and wellbeing for Empire State citizens.   

Speaking to The New York Daily Weed Report about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order to ban e-cigarettes, Sen. Gustavo Rivera said the Health Committee will exhaust every effort to engage in the research, analysis and review needed to ensure that the products made available are safe and secure for the public.

“We look forward to the publics’ perspective on this issue,” he said.

As the second state to ban e-cigarettes in September following Michigan, New York was followed by Massachusetts, which recently announced a four-month ban.

New York’s temporary 90-day ban on the sale and distribution of flavored e-cigarettes and e-liquids may just be permanent, according to Senator Rivera, who said that based on medical research, consumption of such products may cause adverse health outcomes, while also alluring children and adolescents to engage in illicit purchase.

“I believe that these steps (temporary ban) signal that New York will be further regulating e-cigarettes in order to safeguard the public’s health,” he said. 

While Rivera said, “I have not provided any direct counsel to the governor in regard to pursuing this order,” the senator added that the governor, Senate, and Assembly are constantly engaging on a number of e-cigarette issues, there are a number of bills in the Health Committee that aim to address this issue.

“My office has been actively weighing legislative options to ensure we implement permanent regulations that protect the health, safety and wellbeing of New Yorkers,” he said.

Rivera said while the Senate Health Committee engages in rigorous review and assessment of all relevant national research and data that may benefit and improve the quality and standard of health for residents of New York State, findings presented by both state and national health researchers indicate alarming results about the dangers posed by flavored e-cigarettes and e-liquids.

“The executive order ensures these products are removed from the market until further information is gathered and permanent legislation can be passed in an effort to safeguard the health of New Yorkers,” he said.

However, with such tough love for citizen safety comes withdrawal.

“I regret that for the time being some consumers may experience discomfort in this initial transition; however, as more research and evaluation is facilitated, we will soon uncover important details regarding this product and its safety for the public,” Rivera said.

In the interim, non-flavored and menthol e-cigarette and e-liquid products are still available on the market, and provide an alternative for consumers, he added.

As for the decline in vape shop sales, well that’s just too bad, according to Rivera.

“It is unfortunate when any business suffers and experiences a decline in sales; however, New York State must put the health of the public first, especially that of our youth,” he said.