Cuomo's Vaping Warnings Net Strong Reactions

American Vaping Association warns politics may lead to ban in NYS

Tom Puckett
September 10, 2019 - 7:26 pm

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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Governor Cuomo's warning on Monday requiring vaping stores to carry health warnings may only be the beginning according to one vaping organization leader.

"Our advice, our guidance is quite simple: Don't do it," Cuomo said of vaping. "Don't do it because we do not know that it is safe. This is a frightening public health phenomenon," the Democrat told reporters at a Manhattan press conference Monday. "Common sense says if you don't know what you are smoking, don't smoke it."

Greg Conley of the American Vaping Association says he knows what's causing vaping related illnesses that are concerning people like Cuomo. "There is a vaping health crisis linked to illicit THC cartridges made by drug dealers," says Conley.  He notes he doesn't want kids vaping, but warns "there's one type of product that could send a child to the hospital next week, that's from the illicit THC cartridges." 

"Unfortunately, what is happening is the CDC is acting pretty much as a political actor, and they are putting out intentionally vague warnings leading to local news talking about just vaping," notes Conley. "It is ideology at work. It's not so much any actual health harms associated with the product. It looks like smoking, they don't like the companies involved, so they're taking advantage of illnesses clearly linked to these drug dealer products."

As for Cuomo's warning, "He'll use that to ban flavors only in nicotine products. They have no control or no plan to control these illicit products," claims Conley. "Do not be surprised if there is a predetermined conclusion, which is Governor Cuomo comes out with an emergency order banning all flavored products. It would not surprise me to see that in the next three to five weeks."

Dr. Andrew Hyland of Roswell Park Comprehensive Care Center calls Cuomo's move unprecedented. "Here's a leader giving this broad public health guidance so this certainly sets a tremendous precedent and the leadership in terms of creativity going forward," says Hyland. 

Hyland says it's still early in the investigation, and it's still not clear what the health impacts of vaping are. "Vaping, which does not burn the product, has a lower toxicity profile. There are some bad chemicals in there, but they're far fewer and with lower concentrations. We're trying to figure what the health risks, if any, there are from vaping," explains Hyland. 

Hyland notes 30 percent of cancer deaths at Roswell Park are the result of cigarette smoking. "I urge cigarette smokers now is as good a time as any to quit," advises Hyland. 

Hyland says vaping is safer than cigarettes but not safe. "These quick acting respiratory events putting otherwise young people in the hospital, this is a new ballgame," says Hyland. 

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