A statewide medical group on Sunday called for a complete ban on the sale of vaping products, arguing the use of e-cigarettes and similar devices will help spread coronavirus in New York.

The group, the New York State Academy of Family Physicians, urged Governor Andrew Cuomo to issue an executive order banning the sale of vaping products in New York during the crisis.

“As our state and country struggle to respond to the rapidly evolving and escalating COVID-19 pandemic affecting our residents and straining our healthcare system, mounting evidence demonstrates the link between tobacco use and increased risk for progressive COVID-19,” said Dr. Barbara Keber, the group’s president.

New York had already moved toward a ban on flavored vaping products amid health concerns that arose last year. State lawmakers were expected to take further action in the budget, which is due to be approved next week.

The group pointed to studies that found linkages between e-cigarette usage or smoking and the elevated risk of contracting the virus.  

“People with decreased lung function caused by smoking or vaping are more likely to develop serious complications caused by infections,” Keber said.

“Now more than ever, it is critical for the State and medical community to take actions to prevent our youth from ever using these highly addictive deadly products and to help our patients to reduce their risks through FDA-approved cessation and telehealth during this pandemic.”