Will Cuomo’s E-Cigarette Executive Action Ban Go Up in Smoke
In case you haven't heard, Governor Cuomo once again made headlines all over the place this week with an Executive Action banning the sales of most flavored e-cigarettes.
Frankly, this has been all I've heard about this week and I've seen really really strong reactions- both in support and against. I tried to filter through all of the reactionary news and get to the basics. According to a news article by CNN, the Executive Action put into effect by Governor Cuomo on Tuesday is good for 90 days (then, it has to be renewed). What he did? Well, the action banned the sales of flavored e-cigarettes except for plain tobacco and menthol. This action was supported by the New York Health Commissioner and by the Public Health and Health Planning Council (part of the Department of Health) according to CNN.
OK so since that's out of the way, let's talk about it. I don't vap, but someone very close to me does. Vaping actually helped him kick cigarettes over a year ago, and he really uses vaping much less than he ever used cigarettes. So I support that. To me, it's basic harm reduction (something New York is ALL about with heroin abuse- I should know, I work as a nurse in it too).
I know a lot of people (band members included) that use e-cigarettes and vaps, and I've sat on a tour bus many a time surrounded by flavored smoke. Is it the healthiest? Probably not. But to me, and as a nurse, CERTAINLY way better than cigarette smoke. Or other drugs.
Also as not just a music lover but as an addiction nurse, I am very aware that nobodies vices go away just like that. I completely understand the attention brought to flavored e-cigarettes and the concern. You can look at the dramatic rise of teens vaping, reported on by the New York Times. But, I also know with substances and addiction, generally where there's a will there's a way. If you take one vice away, something else is going to fill that space. So do we really think that banning flavored e-cigarettes suddenly is going to actually fix anything? Right.
Also let's mention this. There's suddenly an Executive Action and this focus by Cuomo on the flavored e-cigarettes. Well, I mean let's face it. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) literally say exactly that. And according to the CDC, EVERY DAY about 2000 people under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette. So again, as long as cigarettes are still legal, smokeless tobacco is still legal, and so on, do we really think this ban will do anything significant?
Oh but wait, let's not also forget to now throw in the drastic rises over the years in opiate abuse and deaths, the high rates of opiate prescriptions going on, and more (you can scroll through easy to read data and charts here). So all I can say is, I feel like Cuomo has way bigger fish to fry than passing an Executive Order suddenly banning the sales of flavored e-cigarettes.