E-cigarettes

Banning Flavored E-Cigarettes Has Nothing to Do With the Hazards of Black-Market Cannabis Products

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other prohibitionists continue to conflate the two issues.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that he plans to impose an "emergency" ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. Cuomo's ban, like Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's and the Trump administration's, is officially a response to "the increasing number of youth using vape products." Yet his press release also says "these efforts follow a series of actions taken by the Governor aimed at addressing the growing use of vaping products, which have come under national scrutiny following a rising number of cases of vaping-associated respiratory illnesses."

The implication is that legal e-cigarettes have something to do with those "vaping-associated respiratory illnesses." But as far as we know, that isn't true. Data from California, Illinois, New Mexico, and Wisconsin indicate that the vast majority of these patients had vaped black-market THC products. The leading theory among state and federal investigators is that the illnesses are caused by additives or contaminants in those products, and possibly also black-market nicotine e-liquid. One possible culprit is vitamin E acetate, which was detected in most samples of THC fluid tested by New York's state lab and by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Notwithstanding the evidence from his own investigators, Cuomo seems to be deliberately muddling the issue. "Vaping is dangerous, period," the governor said at a press conference yesterday. "No one can say long-term use of vaping—where you're inhaling steam and chemicals deep into your lungs—is healthy."

While it's true that we do not have long-term data on the health effects of vaping, we know enough to conclude that the habit is far less dangerous than smoking, which produces many more hazardous substances at far higher levels. For smokers considering a switch to vaping, the relevant question is not whether e-cigarettes are "healthy" but whether they are less deadly that the conventional, combustible kind. And on that point there is no serious scientific dispute.

The insinuation that legal e-cigarettes, which have been in wide use for years, are to blame for these recent lung disease cases is apt to drive vapers back to smoking and discourage current smokers from making a switch that could save their lives. That is unambiguously bad for public health. Likewise the plans to ban the vaping products that former smokers overwhelmingly prefer, a policy that poses the additional hazard of driving both adult and teenaged vapers toward black-market nicotine concoctions that may pose special dangers.

"The e-cigarettes and the vaping devices are often used to vape other substances," such as "THC" and "vitamin E acetate," Cuomo noted during his press conference. "And many of these other products have no controls on them whatsoever, the so-called counterfeit products. They're not cleared by the FDA. There's been no analysis of them at all. So vaping is dangerous." Under the cover of "vaping is dangerous," Cuomo is imposing a ban that will lead to greater use of the "counterfeit products" that are "not cleared by the FDA," have not been analyzed, and "have no controls on them whatsoever." How does that make sense?

Press reports continue to amplify this misleading message, warning about the dangers of "e-cigarettes" and "vaping" in general instead of focusing on the specific hazards of black-market products. "Amid a surge of vaping-related illnesses and deaths," The New York Times says at the beginning of its story, "Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced on Sunday that he would pursue emergency regulations this week to quickly ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes." In the sixth paragraph, the Times says that "health officials around the country continue to grapple with an outbreak of a severe lung disease linked to vaping that causes severe shortness of breath and days of vomiting, fever and fatigue." It notes that "at least six deaths and hundreds of hospitalizations have been reported." Several paragraphs later, the Times says "Mr. Cuomo's action came less than a week after the state announced a series of other measures meant to address both the surge of vaping illnesses and the expanding use of e-cigarettes."

In the 14th paragraph, the Times finally offers this clarification: "Though the specific substance or product causing the vaping illnesses remains unclear, the New York State Department of Health has linked many cases of the illness to cannabis products that contain high levels of vitamin E acetate, a thickening agent for vaping liquid. Vitamin E acetate is now a key focus of the department's inquiry." (Emphasis added.) What does banning flavored e-cigarettes have to do with symptoms that seem to be caused by additives in black-market cannabis products? Absolutely nothing, but that is not the impression readers will get from this story.

Cuomo says he will continue to allow the sale of tobacco- and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes, because (as the Times puts it) "some data suggests that those menthol products could assist in helping people to stop smoking traditional cigarettes." The data actually indicate that e-cigarettes are nearly twice as effective in smoking cessation as alternatives such as nicotine gum and patches. The data also show that the flavors Cuomo plans to ban, which he portrays as part of an insidious plot to hook "children and underage youth" on nicotine, are the ones favored by the vast majority of adults who used to smoke and are now vaping instead.

The FDA, the agency that is now planning to ban the vast majority of nicotine vaping products, has itself acknowledged the enormous harm-reducing potential of e-cigarettes. Former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb, whose concerns about underage vaping led the agency down this road, described e-cigarettes as a "tremendous public health opportunity." In its haste to deter teenagers from using e-cigarettes, the government is on the verge of squandering that opportunity.

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  1. Andrew Cuomo looks somewhat like that Fredo Cuomo dude.

    1. Would you find him better-looking if he slathered on orange tint, gained 90 pounds, and purchased a silly toupe?

      1. Who says Fredo isn’t good looking? Or that Dillinger likes Trump?

      2. mocking the Cuomos is too easy yet still required until they go away

        1. The Cuomos appear to have been exceptionally successful for an extended period.

          1. i know. for no ascertainable reason in fact they seem to be genetically stunted intellectually. Mock City.

          2. So was John Gotti.

  2. Gotta have some sort of illegal drugs, so the Drug Warriors don’t lose their phoney-baloney jobs.

    1. i love the phoney-baloney jobs line i thought i was the only one left.

  3. It’s OK, vapers. Smokers will welcome you back into the fold, where you can stand outside in miserable, wet, cold weather and get pneumonia from that instead. You know, because everyone now believes that second-hand tobacco smoke is infinitely more dangerous than the first-hand kind, despite the evidence… But really, it’s the third-hand kind of smoking that sneaks up The Children and causes an untold number of diseases, mental disorders, addictions and deaths. Most kids don’t lick the pavement, so that’s why you’ll still be allowed to smoke or vape outdoors, 30 feet away from any sort of entrance and that’s usually in the middle of the street. Any deaths from pneumonia or being run over by a car will be counted as a death “from smoking.”

    Oh, just seeing a film or TV show with someone smoking a cigarette is enough to make kids want to smoke, I’m pretty sure we will see vaping banned in media due to vaping’s inherent dangers.

    PS: Gottlieb screwed vapers over, big time. Still LMAO that you thought he was gonna be on your side. Muppets. Trust no one in politics or public health. And welcome back to the sin bin.

    1. You believe an adult should have the right to chain-smoke in a room or vehicle with children?

      If so, enjoy your political irrelevance in an improving America.

      1. Funny you mention that Reverend. The only ones I see still doing that around here are core democrat voters…

        1. More authoritarian = improving.

      2. How old are the children? Are you sure it’s not just an attempt at aborting them?

      3. “You believe an adult should have the right to chain-smoke in a room or vehicle with children?”

        Depends. Are the windows in the car up or down? 😉
        I note your later comment: “Would the vaping/tobacco industry’s mouthpieces draw a line before reaching fruit-flavored, nicotine-infused infant formula?” Spoken like a true tobacco control fanatic. If you’re not already working in tobacco control or some related public health field, may I suggest that you consider this a career path? Attack the industry, save the smoker… until they don’t want to be saved and just wanna be left alone. Then de-normalize them, ridicule them, blame them, make them pariahs… I think it might suit you.

        1. >>>windows in the car up or down?

          when they were down the smoke just blew into the backseat @my brother and me …

        2. Artie thinks totalitarians are our betters and that imposing it is improving America.
          So, clearly one fucked up individual.

  4. Drinking alcohol is dangerous, period.
    Driving is dangerous, period.
    Lifting heavy objects is dangerous, period.
    Playing any sport is dangerous, period.
    Martial arts classes are dangerous, period.
    Eating fast food is dangerous, period.
    Staying up late is dangerous, period.
    Having sex is dangerous, period.
    Using cleaning supplies is dangerous, period.
    Eating leftovers that are more than 24 hours old is dangerous, period.
    Crossing the street is dangerous, period.
    Using a kitchen knife is dangerous, period.
    Sleeping less than 7 hours a night or more than 9 hours a night is dangerous, period.
    Exercising too much (or not enough) is dangerous, period.
    Gambling (except for state lotteries) is dangerous, period.
    Taking out a loan is dangerous, period.
    Wearing high heels is dangerous, period.

    We’ll all be so much better off once our betters can decide exactly what we are and are not allowed to do.

    1. I wish someone would make a series of deep fakes of these scolds but subbing in all the other things we do every day that are “dangerous” but still worth it for certain individuals.

  5. Would the vaping/tobacco industry’s mouthpieces draw a line before reaching fruit-flavored, nicotine-infused infant formula?

    1. Because we know that only children prefer chocolate and fruit flavors – that’s why your last birthday you had a healthy broccoli birthday cake, with kale ice cream.

    2. I haven’t see any complaints about candy and fruit flavored alcohol Reverend. And a new hipster brewery where I live even has a kids play area so mom and dad can get hammered without having to hire a babysitter-but they explicitly forbid smoking and vaping so it’s all good…

      1. They have cotton candy and chocolate flavored beers too-the horror!

        1. They have cotton candy and chocolate flavored beers too-the horror!
          I guess this makes porters and stouts exclusively kid’s beer.

          Cotton candy beer? I just can’t even …

  6. The implication is that legal e-cigarettes have something to do with those “vaping-associated respiratory illnesses.” But as far as we know, that isn’t true.

    “Ahem. Weren’t those black-market cartridges used in legal e-cigs? Isn’t that ‘something to do with’? I rest my case.”

    1. The nannies have been looking for an opportunity to kill vaping from the beginning but appear to be too stupid to realize that these bans will only drive more vapers to the black market which is causing this vaping disease.

      1. A typical Progressive is concerned with the appearance rather than the substance of an issue. That’s why they are so eager to pass laws and spend money that just disappears down a black hole – you must show willingness to act right now in a very public way.
        Since vaping appears just like smoking, it must be the same, and must be stopped. The fact that vaping will not cause anything like the same health problems as smoking does not matter.

        1. It must be frustrating for those progressive helicopter parents who feel helpless to their kids vaping in secret. In this case, they have to use the authoritarian state to help bubble wrap their kids from outside forces beyond their control.

          1. Or they could home school them like those far right fundamentalist whacko parents do

    2. If you knew anything about vaping and vaping accessories, you would know that’s like saying a lighter had “something to do with” the health problems associated with cigarettes. smh

  7. Flavored cigarettes are way more harmful than the normal ones
    خرید تجهیزات شبکه

  8. What does banning flavored e-cigarettes have to do with symptoms that seem to be caused by additives in black-market cannabis products? Absolutely nothing, but that is not the impression readers will get from this story.

    I believe the phrase is “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

    I think there’s a Senator Hanlon’s Razor, too: “Never ascribe to malice or stupidity that which is adequately explained by political opportunism.”

    1. There’s a problem with that razor. Malice, stupidity and political opportunism are not mutually exclusive.

      D: All of the above.

  9. Yet more prohibitionist crap.

    1. No, it’s deeper than that. The tobacco industry shovels a lot of money to the states each year. The vape industry does not. Gotta protect the money flow.

      1. (friendly-like) Juul sold to Altria (Phillip Morris)

  10. If only there was a political party that spent most of its energy loudly fighting this sort of prohibitionist crap, instead of constantly wading into stupid waters like being pro-open borders, that party might just win some seats.

    1. Considering that roughly each half of the country wants to prohibit something that the other half enjoys, I don’t see much room for the party you are describing. The good news for you is that if enough stuff is banned , nobody will want to immigrate here and the wall will be to keep people from leaving (see East Germany).

  11. Oh, just seeing a film or TV show with someone smoking a cigarette is enough to make kids want to smoke, I’m pretty sure we will see vaping banned in media due to vaping’s inherent dangers. https://lapakdunia.com

  12. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other prohibitionists continue to conflate the two issues.
    You mean like so many places are doing with the “opioid crisis”, conflating prescription medications with street opioids?

  13. I believe the phrase is “Never let a good crisis go to waste
    https://www.duniasituspoker88.cc

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