Insurance companies operating in New York must provide coverage to people who need vaping-related treatment, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday.
The directive, issued to the Department of Financial Services, comes as a ban on flavored vaping products remains in legal limbo amid a challenge from an industry group.
A council within the Department of Health is voting today on keeping the ban on the books for another 90 days; an appeals court has blocked it from taking effect in October.
“E-cigarette use has exploded in recent years and many of the people who want to quit are now having trouble because vaping is more addicting than they previously thought,” Cuomo said. “New Yorkers trying to stop vaping need access to treatment, and this action will require insurance companies to provide the same coverage they would for smoking cessation to anyone seeking to stop using e-cigarettes.”
Vaping related illnesses so far have been attributed to 48 deaths in 25 states, including two in New York.
“Insurers must adapt to address emerging issues in public health and that includes vaping, which is growing in use including among teenagers causing illnesses and even deaths,” said Linda Lacewell, the superintendent of the Department of Financial Services, which oversees the insurance industry. “Insurers must cover vaping cessation in the same way they cover services for smoking cessation, and do so without cost-sharing.”