Moya to vote for bill banning fl avored e-cigarettes
BY MAX PARROTT
A plushy Big Tobacco monster
showed up at Councilman Francisco
Moya’s district office in Corona on
Oct. 31 to scare him into voting for two
bills that would restrict the sale of flavored
e-cigarettes and menthols.
The Halloween stunt was organized
by Flavors Hook Kids NYC, a
coalition dedicated to pushing the
regulatory bills. Campaign manager
Andre Richardson arrived with a
group of youth leaders, activists in
spooky masks and an anthropomorphic
cigarette with baskets filled
with candy, menthol cigarettes and
lemonade-flavored vape pods.
“It does not have to be Halloween
for Big Tobacco to scare our kids,”
The advocates said that they targeted
Moya as part of a long-term effort
to confront all of the council members
that have not signed onto the bills. At
the moment that the press conference
was ending, however, Moya stopped
by and, after giving the activists candy
and inviting them into his office,
he came out behind both pieces of
“We had a great conversation and
we’re all in alignment,” said Moya.
“I’m going to be voting and signing
on to the bills, which was the intent
Photo: Max Parrott/QNS
anyways. They were going to come
into do a presentation to the Black,
Asian and Latino Caucus and so we
were just waiting for that,” he said.
The group chose to mix flavored
tobacco in with Halloween candy to
symbolize how tobacco advertising is
often juxtaposed with the candy section
of bodegas, Richardson said.
The coalition sprung into action
over the past several months to get the
laws through the City Council. This
activity coincided with public outcry
over the rise in vape-related deaths
and illness, stemming largely from
black market THC vape products.
For years before that trend caught
the sudden attention of the media and
Federal government, the popularity of
vapes among teens has been surging.
By 2018, Center for Disease Control
reported that one in five high schoolers
in the U.S. have tried a vape.
In the past three months, Richardson
said that the Flavors Hook Kids
NYC has been able to galvanize a an
alliance that includes NAACP, clergy
groups, parents and advocates around
the two bills. One would ban the sale
of menthol- and minty-flavored cigarettes
in the city. The other would ban
all flavored e-cigarettes.
The advocates said that Moya was
the 28th council member they have
gotten to come out in favor of the flavored
e-cigarette ban and the 33rd to
sign on to the menthol bill — a majority
of the City Council in both cases.
“If the bills were brought up tomorrow,
we would have the votes,”
While the bills’ advocates like
Councilman Mark Levine have conceded
that vaping may be helpful for
adults as a smoking cessation tool,
groups like Flavors Hook Kids argue
that flavors like lemonade and mango
target young smokers.
The advocates said that they expect
it to take several months for the
City Council to vote on the bills. In
the meantime, they will continue to
put pressure on the holdouts.
“We are not going to stop until
all 51 council members are on
board,” said demonstrator Rev. Kevin
Reach reporter Max Parrott by email
or by phone at (718) 260-2507.
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