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The New York Department of Health is also launching an investigation into companies producing vaping substances and will require shops that sell e-cigarettes to post a warning to “let people know this is a risky endeavor,” he said.
“This is a frightening public health phenomenon,” Cuomo said at a news conference.
As part of the investigation, Cuomo said subpoenas will be issued to learn more about the chemical makeup of vaping products.
He added that “common sense” would suggest that “if you don’t know what you are smoking, don’t smoke it, and right now we don’t know.”
The investigation by the health department “could very well lead to the banning of all products” relating to vaping, he noted, but the state “can’t ban that which the federal government approves.”
“We don’t know what a lot of these substances are and you have an alarming rate of illness,” Cuomo said.
Dr. Howard Zucker, the commissioner of Health for New York State, said there have been 41 patients in New York with lung illnesses after vaping. Samples were collected from eight of the patients and most of them had “high levels of vitamin e acetate” which can damage lungs, he said. All of the New York cases have been tied to black market cannabis vaping pens.
“We should stop vaping until we have more information about this,” Zucker said, echoing the governor.
This move in New York comes after several other states and the Food and Drug Administration have launched similar investigations into e-cigarette usage.
Vaping company Juul is facing further scrutiny by the FDA for illegally claiming its products were a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, according to The Associated Press.
A spokesperson for Juul told the AP the company “will fully cooperate” with the FDA, which has been investigating Juul for months.