The Council of the City of New York
Office of Costa Constantinides
For Immediate Release
October 7, 2014
Contact: Shachar Sharon
Constantinides Introduces Bill to Protect Kids by Expanding
Restriction of Flavored Tobacco Products
New York – City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) today introduced INT 488 to restrict the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. The legislation aims to prevent the health risks associated with tobacco addiction by targeting flavored e-cigarettes, which may become a gateway to tobacco use. The sale of flavored tobacco products is already restricted.
Constantinides said, “This bill continues the consistent public health measures that the Council has already laid out towards tobacco products. Flavored e-cigarettes create another avenue that tobacco companies are using to entice children and teenagers into using this potentially dangerous product. The e-cigarette industry has openly admitted that they are not in the tobacco cessation business. This bill ensures that flavored e-cigarettes are treated the same way as flavored tobacco products and helps prevent children from starting a lifetime of addiction.”
Health groups and advocates support the expansion of the city’s flavored tobacco laws to apply to flavored e-cigarettes.
“We are pleased to see Councilmember Constantinides’ interest in restricting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in New York City. These products send the wrong message to our youth. E-cigarettes continue to be completely unregulated and they are very enticing to kids with bubble gum, mango and caramel apple flavors. They could lead kids down the road to picking up a deadly tobacco addiction. The city restricted sale of other flavored tobacco products, it makes sense to apply the same rules here,” said Michele Bonan, Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in New York City.
“The American Lung Association in New York is pleased to support Councilman Constantinides’ bill to protect New York City’s kids from flavored e-cigarettes. The e-cigarette industry is preying on our children by using candy-flavored products, a tactic ripped right from Big Tobacco’s playbook, to addict kids to tobacco and nicotine,” said Michael Seilback, Vice President, Public Policy & Communications of the American Lung Association of the Northeast.
“The American Heart Association is gravely concerned about the continued prevalence of tobacco addiction in New York City,” stated Robin Vitale, Senior Director of Government Relations. “Smoking is the leading preventable cause of heart disease and stroke, and the fact that adult smoking rates are increasing according to city data is alarming. We look forward to working with Council Member Constantinides and other Council champions as we seek to address this serious health concern. Whether it is through this proposal or others, we are grateful for Council Member Constantinides’ intention to help us save more New Yorkers from a lifetime of disease.”
“Like flavored tobacco products, flavored e-cigarettes entice youth and young adults to get hooked on these products that shown to have immediate negative health effects. We thank New York City Councilman Costa Constantinides for his leadership to sponsor this bill,” states Karen Blumenfeld, Esq., Executive Director of Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy.
“While Congress has banned candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes that appealed to kids, e-cigarettes are now being marketed with similar sweet flavors that are just as appealing to children,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “This is a problem that needs to be addressed, and Councilmember Constantinides’ bill does so.”
Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair the City Council’s Sub-Committee on Libraries and sits on seven standing committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Environmental Protection, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.