(Bloomberg) -- New York imposed an “emergency” ban on flavored e-cigarettes amid a rising national epidemic of serious illness -- and several deaths -- linked to vaping.

“Vaping is dangerous,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday at a news conference. “It’s addicting millions of young people to nicotine at a very early age.”

Jason Conwall, a spokesman for the governor, said the ban was aimed at reducing the use among young people and would eliminate the sale of e-cigarettes and vaping liquid with flavors such as mango, bubble gum and cotton candy. Mint -- a popular flavor among young people -- would be included. However, menthol and tobacco flavors, which are used mostly by adults, wouldn’t be.

Almost 500 cases of respiratory ailments in three dozen states have been linked to vaping, and at least six people have died. Health officials haven’t pinned down the exact cause of the illnesses or one particular product.

Earlier this month Michigan became the first state to ban e-cigarettes. Several others, including California and Massachusetts, are considering it.

Last week, the White House proposed a nationwide ban, saying President Donald Trump would offer specific legislation in several weeks also aimed at cutting youth consumption of flavored vaping products.

Not Far Enough

The American Lung Association criticized Cuomo’s plan, saying it didn’t go far enough.

“Unfortunately the action did not apply to menthol flavored e-cigarettes, which with mint flavored e-cigarettes are favored by the majority of high school students,” Harold Wimmer, president and chief executive officer of the association, said in a press release.

Cuomo said the state didn’t ban menthol out of consideration for adult smokers who haven’t been able to quit menthol cigarettes.

“They tried the lozenges,” Cuomo said. “They tried the medications. They tried everything. Nothing else worked -- a very limited pool -- and they’re trying vaping. The menthol flavor for the vaping helps menthol cigarette smokers.”

The Cuomo spokesman said the ban would go into effect by early October after conferring with state health officials. He plans fuller legislation against vaping in January.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian Fisher in New York at ifisher10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Ludden at jludden@bloomberg.net, Matthew G. Miller

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