Despite Governor Cuomo’s action to ban flavored vapor products in New York State, the products remain within New York vapers’ reach — on Indian reservations.

On the Montauk Highway in Southampton, just at the western most end of a strip of shops on the Shinnecock nation’s reservation, the Shinnecock Smoke Shop bears a sign which reads, in big bold letters, “FLAVORED E-CIGS HERE.” Said Taobi Silva, manager of the shop and former tribal trustee for the Shinnecock:

“I don’t think people are aware the ban doesn’t affect us. We expect to see a big jump in sales if the ban goes into place.”

According to Silva, sales of vapor products at his shop have been steady since Cuomo’s announcement of the ban last month. Other businesses on the reservation have likewise seized the opportunity presented by the looming flavor ban, according to reporting from Newsday (disclaimer: paywalled article.)

According to Bryan Polite, chairman of tribal trustees for the Shinnecock nation:

“We are not governed by New York State when it comes to [vaping or tobacco products].”

He has no expectation of interference from New York State government on the matter because, “they don’t have any jurisdiction when it comes to how we conduct our business affairs.” In the event the Office of Tribal Tobacco Products elects to impose a ban of its own, Polite indicates that the four shops on the reservation which currently sell flavored vapor products would comply with it; until then, he says, “the four shops are going to continue selling them.”

In the mean time, Polite indicates that he and the other shop owners are vigilant against selling vapor products to minors, saying:

“We go out of our way not to sell to minors. At my store I make it a mission to make sure everybody is carded.”


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