The Journal News states that Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York had proposed a ban on flavored e-cigarettes, and it officially passed on Tuesday, September 17. Cuomo stated, in regards to why the ban that passed was categorized as an ‘emergency,’ that the “data demonstrates the need for urgent action, we cannot wait for the legislative session to begin, which is in January, and we cannot wait for federal action.”
New York is not the only state to propose a ban on these popular products. The New York Times goes on to further explain that Michigan was the first to do so earlier this month, also banning flavors associated with the controversial e-cigarette device. It doesn’t just stop there. President Donald J. Trump also has plans to ban similar vaping devices at a federal level, which is said to have sparked Cuomo’s urgency.
In regards to New York, the flavors restricted do not include tobacco and menthol-flavored products according to the NYT. These steps taken are ones in the right direction. David Robinson from The Journal News writes about flavors that reflect commonly enjoyed products like candy, juices and desserts. These flavors adhere to a younger generation, such as those at middle and high school levels. The flavored products mask what a product like the Juul, a popular e-cigarette brand, is really meant to do; administer nicotine by inhaling the devices’ vapors.
The answer to the question, “Is vaping bad for you?” used to be answered simply with “No, and if it was, there is no evidence on it.” In fact, those who are vaping typically don’t even know what they’re inhaling in the first place. Most people that I encounter don’t want to know the truth because they’re in denial of the negative effects of the practice.
While e-cigarettes may be helping those battling the bigger monster, the traditional cigarette, the e-cigarette is also a gateway for children and young adults to pick up a nicotine addiction. Either it’s for the sake of a trend, for a little buzz or for pure leisure. This in turn is an epidemic; an epidemic of addiction society has been scrambling to kick for the past 100 years.
While the ban only reaches flavored e-cigarettes, we have to think broader about nicotine products like the classic cigarettes and chewing tobacco. Trying to remove children from this nicotine craze is important, but the bans can’t just stop there.
We have to think about those who are older too, where it’s argued that e-cigarettes help those trying to quit the traditional cigarette. It’s also argued that banning flavors will make buyers just turn to menthol and tobacco flavors at a higher rate to compensate. As reported by the NYT, an employee at an e-smoke and convenience shop in Manhattan, Amit Patel, pleads that the ban will kill his business. While I sympathize with those trying to make a living in this industry, it’s more important to regard a human life over a business’. These arguments only prove that we need to keep working on the subject of nicotine as a whole.
For “millennial” generations, we knew better that cigarettes were not to be touched. Most of us have seen our grandparents or those from that time period suffer those consequences. I know I have. What’s most upsetting to me is that my fellow friends, family and community in this so called “millennial” generation have fallen prey to this trap. Numerous cases have come out of the woodworks in regards to the side effects smoking an e-cigarette can have. The NYT says that New York alone has had 64 cases in relation to lung disease and vaping.
Maybe an e-cigarette has less tar and requires less smoke inhalation, but the science is that nicotine still kills, whether you want to hear that or not. According to the American Heart Association, nicotine is a highly addictive chemical that is known to raise blood pressure, flow of blood to the heart, narrowing of arteries and can also contribute to the hardening of the arterial walls-a cocktail for a heart attack. For reference, one Juul cartridge, called a pod, has around the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, states the American Academy of Family Physicians.
The argument I hear most about how “nicotine is fine when inhaled with an e-cigarette” doesn’t cut it for me anymore, and it shouldn’t for you either. There is so much more to this, and it starts with an industry and ends with us, the consumers. So is the ban a good thing? Yes. Can we do even more to fix the nicotine war on society? Absolutely.
Photo from Sarah Johnson’s blog