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Nassau County Hits Vaping

Nassau County, New York, has passed legislation that attacks harm reduction.

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Nassau County Republicans have struck out at harm reduction by sneaking anti-vape measures into a tobacco control bill. It was proposed back in May and managed to obtain universal support this week. The most troubling aspect is the language that accompanied it from all sides of the political spectrum.

“It’s very clear that some in the industry are targeting kids with their products,” said Republican Richard Nicolello as he put forward, what he called, “a companion bill.”

Nicolello justified the approach by using dubious statistics claiming that nearly five times as many high school students vape compared to smoke. What such a figure does is ignore the real numbers of full-time vapers. It also obfuscates the fact that most of those will be vaping as a means to reduce tobacco-related harm.

The bill lumped all of the restrictions placed on cigarette sales onto vape products, regardless of the proven benefits of vaping instead of smoking. Products have had to be moved behind counters, a block on in-store “point-of-sale advertising”, banned from sale to those under-21 and stores are now prohibited from operating in certain areas of the county.

Nicolello added: “It’s a measure designed to make sure it’s treated as a product that can be harmful, especially for young people.”

Democrat Arnold Drucker commented: “Anything we can do to reduce this epidemic of electronic tobacco smoking is helpful. No one thing in particular is the magic bullet, but every little bit helps.” Anything, that is, except adopting an evidence-based harm reduction approach.

Republican Steve Rhoads greeted the bill passing by commenting: “These dangerous products have been marketed towards children, with flavors like bubble gum, cotton candy and others. By displaying them next to candy, trading cards or toys, they are encouraging children and young adults to think they are harmless when it is becoming increasingly apparent that the truth is very much to the contrary. In taking these actions, the Legislature is swiftly moving to combat a growing threat.”

It’s as if all three were reading from a script written by Tobacco-Free Kids.

Rhoads went on about harmful metals, chemicals, carcinogens, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. He failed to appreciate that “e-cigs, Juuls and vapes” aren’t three separate things, and claimed nicotine was dangerous in large quantities – as if that’s even relevant.

The evidence-free perpetuation of fear tactics like this not only makes it more difficult for vapers to continue vaping, but also deters smokers from attempting to switch to something that the Royal College of Physicians has declared to be at least 95% safer than smoking. In addition, the complicit media are pushing the corrupt agenda on teens that may be smokers.

“I think it’s a good way to try to stop teenage use,” one area youth was quoted as saying.

At least another spoke about the negative ramifications: “People will always find a way to get drugs or alcohol. It creates unnecessary arrests that benefit nobody.”

Drucker was then quoted as adding: “If we can reduce that number or prevent even a few teens from developing that habit, how can you argue that?”

Quite easily, Mr Drucker, but we doubt you’d listen.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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