American Heart Association dismayed by Cuomo e-cig ban

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) A New York health panel Tuesday approved an emergency ban on sales of flavored e-cigarettes, but the American Heart Association is taking aim at Gov. Andrew Cuomo for not including tobacco- or menthol-flavored e-cigarettes.

The vote Tuesday by the state Public Health and Health Planning Council means the ban goes into effect immediately. Retailers will have two weeks to remove the merchandise from shelves.

Representatives of the American Heart Association said in a statement they're disappointed because menthol flavoring in all tobacco products, not just e-cigarettes, makes it easier to start using and harder to quit.

"By leaving menthol out of Gov. Cuomo's executive order banning some flavors in e-cigarettes, and excluding flavored combustible tobacco products altogether, the state Department of Health's Public Health and Health Planning continues to put youth and African Americans at risk of taking up e-cigarette use or smoking," said the statement. "Menthol flavoring in all tobacco products makes it easier to start using and harder to quit."

They also say menthol cigarettes have grown in popularity with 85 percent of African American smokers using them.