A judge in New York has blocked the state's ban on flavored vaping products and accessories. Granting a request for an injunction from the Vapor Technology Association (VTA), Justice Catherine Cholakis ruled that the ban effectively violated the state's constitution.
The ban was an emergency measure that was enacted in September 2019. A unit of the New York Department of Health issued the measure following the signing of an executive order by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The VTA, a trade group made up of companies in the industry, quickly sought an injunction to block the measure.
Cholakis decided that such a ban can only be enacted by the state's legislative branch, not the executive. She said her ruling was based purely on these grounds, while acknowledging the risks of the products at issue.
"Of course, nothing in this decision, order and judgment should be read as in any way trivializing the concern that the availability of flavored e-liquids may well be contributing to the spread of nicotine addiction among our youth," she wrote.
Many critics say that such products are marketed to very young consumers and put their health at unnecessary risk. Both the VTA and top vaping product manufacturers like Juul Labs -- which has tobacco giant Altria Group (NYSE:MO) as a key shareholder -- vociferously and consistently deny these claims.
The VTA, which once counted Juul as a member before that company decided not to renew its affiliation last year, has not yet commented publicly on the ruling. Nor, for that matter, has Juul, Altria Group, or the state's Department of Health.
Altria Group, considered by many investors to be a top dividend stock, is up marginally in late afternoon trading.