Flavored e-cigarettes are officially illegal in New York

New York has fired the first shot in the battle against flavored e-cigarettes, banning their sale.

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The move comes as federal health officials investigate a mysterious surge of severe breathing illnesses linked to vaping.

The vote by the state Public Health and Health Planning Council means the prohibition, which covers flavored e-cigarettes and other vaping products except for menthol and tobacco flavors.

The ruling goes into effect immediately. Retailers will have two weeks to remove merchandise from store shelves.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, had proposed the emergency ban Sunday , citing surging use among young people.

According to data from the state health department, nearly 40 percent of high school seniors and 27 percent of high school students overall in the state use e-cigarettes. Use among high-school students went from 10.5 percent in 2014 to 27.4 percent in 2018.

Cuomo pointed to vaping flavors like bubblegum and cotton candy that he said seemed aimed at young people.

Vape shop owners say they're considering a legal challenge to the new regulation, which they say should have gone before lawmakers for hearings, debate and a vote. Several spoke at the meeting to urge council members to reject the ban.

Juul Labs, Inc., the company with the biggest footprint in the industry, has said it agrees with the need for action in the flavored e-cigarette sector and will comply with any final state and federal regulations.

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The global market is estimated to have a value of as much as $11 billion.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.