New York’s former mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, a champion of anti-tobacco efforts, announced a $160 million push to ban flavored e-cigarettes in at least 20 cities and states.
As news of Mr. Cuomo’s announcement spread on Sunday, some e-cigarette vendors in the city said they were wary of the attempt to curb the little-regulated $2.6 billion industry and the roughly 20,000 vape shops nationwide.
If a ban were to go into effect, “my business is dead,” said Amit Patel, 38, an employee at E Smoke & Convenience in Manhattan. Mr. Patel estimated that 70 percent of business at the shop came from the dozens of flavors of e-cigarettes he sells, including Swedish Fish and Pink Lemonade.
Some e-cigarette users who turned to vaping products to quit traditional cigarettes said the ban could mean a return to old habits.
Douglas Horowitz, 27, who once smoked half a pack of cigarettes a day, said he had used nicotine patches and gum to try to stop. But mango-flavored Juul was the only thing that helped him quit six months ago, he said. “I’m afraid I’d have to go back to smoking regular cigarettes,” Mr. Horowitz said.
The potentially fatal disease, and its mysterious cause, have led to renewed calls from public health officials, parents, educators and lawmakers for a ban on the largely unregulated industry of vaping products; it has also spurred an investigation by the Centers for Disease Control, which warned consumers against buying bootleg cannabis and e-cigarette products.
In response, several state attorneys general, including New York’s, Letitia James, called for the federal government to ban flavored e-cigarettes in May, and state legislators in California and Massachusetts introduced bills to block their sale.