The New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS), representing over 7,000 delis and bodegas statewide, has moved to end celebrity promotional partnerships with manufacturers of flavored nicotine vapes banned for retail since 2020.

In an aggressive push, the merchants’ group sent “cease and desist” warnings to rapper Snoop Dogg, boxer Mike Tyson, and wrestler Hulk Hogan – stars whose name and likeness currently back sweet flavored disposable e-cigarettes illegal for sale yet still readily available, and hugely popular with, teens online.

NYACS: Stars Must Stop “Giving Credibility To An Illegal Enterprise”

Citing virtual impunity around black market distribution, NYACS President Kent Sopris condemned the ongoing spread of unregulated vapes as a “farce” requiring swift action.

His letter to Snoop Dogg noted disposable devices dubbed “Death Row Vapes by Snoop Dogg” remain available from internet merchants in 21 assorted flavors, despite federal prohibition of retail flavored e-cig sales. Identical illicit offerings leverage Tyson’s fame and Hogan’s iconic brand.

“It’s appalling that these illicit products now have celebrity pitchmen to give these criminal enterprises an air of legitimacy,” Sopris wrote. “Our members obey the law…this farce needs to end (and) these celebrities need to retract their endorsements.”

Death Row Vapes 7000 Disposable Vape

Banned Vapes Use Celebrity Ties And Candy Flavors To Target Kids

Backed by data illustrating disproportionate vape usage growth among students even as conventional cigarettes decline in popularity, Sopris argues unlicensed manufacturers design ostentatious packaging and flavors explicitly to lure underage users.

Packages brazenly flaunt names like “Tyson Vape Lush Lime” and “Hulk Hogan Hulkmania Cotton Candy,” leaving little doubt their mission goes beyond consenting adult smokers seeking pleasure or nicotine relief.

Instead, the NYACS head suggested, they look to hook children and teens on nicotine, a highly addictive chemical whose impacts on young minds and bodies have experts sounding alarms.

tyson 2.0 heavy weight review

Advocates: Youth Vaping At Crisis Levels Due To Dereliction Of Duty By Officials

A joint federal study found over 2.5 million American middle schoolers and high schoolers regularly vaping in 2022, with around 85% favoring flavored varieties. Of particular concern are surging rates of disposable vape adoption versus rechargeable kits.

Citing data demonstrating disposable device usage among youth leaping precipitously while conventional cigarette smoking continues historic decline, health advocates argue inaction by corporations and elected leaders alike has spawned nothing short of an adolescent addiction crisis.

They further highlight how vape manufacturers overtly court influencers like Snoop Dogg to push products while avoiding overt participation in youth-focused marketing. Ultimately it provides legal cover as underage usage balloons.

NYC Suit Alleges “False Safety Claims” As Mayor Adams Warns Of Adolescent Brain Damage

Demanding accountability from corporations perceived to be flouting bans primarily targeting youth usage, New York City has taken unusually aggressive action: filing a federal racketeering lawsuit against prominent vape distributors.

Citing their prominence stoking demand for illegal disposable vapes through implicit appeals to adolescents, authorities invoked RICO statutes more commonly used against organized crime. NYC Mayor Eric Adams said claims disposable vapes are safe, especially for teen users, are “100 percent false.”

“(Disposable vapes) are packed with nicotine, a toxic and highly addictive chemical that is particularly damaging to adolescent minds and bodies,” Adams said when announcing the suit. He further alleged companies directly endanger students while avoiding consequences through jurisdictional tricks and intimidation.

Hulk Hogan Hulkamania 8000 Disposable Vape

Will Celebrity Pressure Spark Accountability?

In public data, government reports, and firsthand accounts from student users themselves, evidence suggests vape manufacturers have fueled an adolescent addiction crisis. While regulators play catch up, the NYACS hopes celebrity pressure could help spark accountability and change.

Their letter to Snoop Dogg, Mike Tyson and Hulk Hogan aims not just to end dubious promotional partnerships, but bring wider attention to what they view as calculated lawlessness hooking underage users on nicotine. The coming weeks will show if celebrities bite back at upstart vape brands leveraging their fame, or simply take checks or equity and look the other way.

Importing disposable vapes faces blanket prohibition in Australia beginning January 1st, 2024. The federal policy forms part of extensive vaping reforms reclassifying nicotine vaporizers as smoking cessation tools available exclusively through medical channels rather than unregulated consumer products. Read more

E-cigarette company Juul Labs has raised approximately $1.3 billion in new financing, the company disclosed in a recent regulatory filing. This influx of funding comes after Juul cut hundreds of jobs over the past year in an effort to reduce operating costs amid mounting legal pressures. Read more

The government of Slovenia has proposed new legislation banning the sale of vaping products in flavors other than tobacco and menthol. If approved by parliament, Slovenia would become the latest European country to restrict vape flavors. Here’s an overview of the proposed law and what it could mean for Slovenian vapers. Read more

A new study in New Zealand has revealed that providing smokers access to alternative nicotine products like e-cigarettes is more beneficial for smoking cessation rates than substantially raising taxes on tobacco products. Read more

With their signature bold branding and extensive variety of profiles, Nasty aims to make a splash in the disposable vape space with their new Nasty Bar range. We conducted rigorous hands-on testing of all 16 flavors to provide the most comprehensive review possible. Read more

The UK government is considering implementing a new tax on vaping products as part of a broader push towards creating a “smoke-free generation” of young people in the country. The potential vape tax would be introduced alongside stricter regulations on both cigarettes and e-cigarettes aimed at deterring youth uptake. Read more

The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) has published its new V.A.P.E. Directory, an official registry of approved vape and alternative nicotine products permitted for sale in the state. Popular disposable brands like Elf Bar are absent from the list, effectively banning their retail sale in Louisiana. Read more

Concerns Grow Over Teen Vaping Rates, But Approaches Vary Across Canada

Ontario recently announced plans to impose a new provincial tax on vaping products, joining a federal taxation scheme aimed at addressing rapidly rising rates of vaping among Canadian youth. While several provinces have already implemented taxes on vapes, approaches remain inconsistent nationwide. Experts call Ontario’s move an important first step, but say more comprehensive strategies are needed to tackle this pressing public health issue.

Read more

The UK government is considering implementing a new tax on vapes as part of its strategy to create a “smokefree generation” and reduce youth vaping rates. Recently published government documents indicate plans to explore a vape duty similar to those enacted in other countries. Read more