End The Nicotine Trap

PIRG Urges Retailers to End Sale of Disposable Vapes Following NYC lawsuit against Illegal E-cigarette Distributors

New York City tackles vape e-waste by filing suits against major e-cigarette distributors.

A youth blows out smoke from an electronic vaporizer
Aleksandr Yu | iStock.com

In a significant development, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced the city of New York has filed a lawsuit against four major e-cigarette distributors: Magellan Technology Inc.; Ecto World, LLC d/b/a/ Demand Vape; Mahant Krupa 56 LLC d/b/a/ Empire Vape Distributors; and Star Vape. These distributors are alleged to have unlawfully distributed flavored vape products to retailers within the city, violating federal, state and city tobacco regulations. Mounting evidence reveals the role of flavors in enticing young individuals and the detrimental impact of these products on adolescent brain development. This risk combined with ineffective and unenforced federal laws has pushed states and local governments to take matters into their own hands by prohibiting flavored products at the local level.

Despite the existing regulations and the alarming health risks associated with flavored vapes, companies have persistently engaged in the unlawful selling of their products to retailers across NYC and through online platforms. In response, the city of New York not only seeks to halt the sale of flavored products by these companies, but is also pursuing monetary damages and fines against these distributors. Mayor Adams emphasized the importance of protecting young New Yorkers’ health, stating, “While these four distributors have chosen profits over people, we won’t sit idly by as they continue to poison our children.” 

Not only have e-cigarette companies created a dangerous health threat to young individuals, but they have also introduced a new environmental concern through the sale of disposable vapes. A recent report by PIRG highlights the damaging environmental effects caused by disposable vape waste. E-waste, already the fastest-growing waste stream in the United States, is further exacerbated by the inclusion of disposable vapes. These single-use products are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries yet designed to be discarded after just one use. Due to their disposable nature, PIRG researchers have found that annual vape waste stretches for over 7,000 miles, severely damaging our oceans. Additionally, the nicotine e-liquid in these products prevents their legal recycling and contributes to their accumulation in landfills and across marine ecosystems. The non-biodegradable nature of disposable vapes ensures their persistent presence, perpetuating their harm to consumers and our environment. 

Due to both the devastating environmental and health effects PIRG researchers have called on convenience store and gas station retailers to stop selling these disposable products. The evidence is clear; e-cigarettes have adverse health consequences on the pulmonary, cardiovascular and neurological organ systems, causing harm to young kids and adults. Additionally, the non-disposable nature of these products creates a detrimental amount of e-waste in our ecosystems. Thus, local, state and federal governments must go beyond just bans on flavors, and call on retailers to end the sale of all disposable products to protect the health, safety and longevity of our youth and environment. 

Anne Donnelly
Anne Donnelly

Former Public Health Campaigns, Associate, PIRG

Juliana St. Goar

Public Health Campaigns Intern

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