Local Assemblyman Steps Back from Vaping Ban Stance

Pat Burke says recent CDC report on outbreak gives him pause

Brendan Keany
January 24, 2020 - 11:42 am
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BUFFALO (WBEN) - Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new research regarding the outbreak of vaping-related deaths. Their study strongly links the presence of Vitamin E acetate, which is often used to dilute THC in black market devices, to the outbreak.

In 2019, Governor Cuomo issued a controversial emergency ban on flavored e-cigarette devices, which was eventually shot down through the court system, as a judge declared any sort of ban would have to go through the state legislature.

Assemblyman Pat Burke was initially in favor of the ban, but the new research showing no link between commercially-sold devices and the outbreak has made him rethink his stance on the matter.

"I was anticipating the report, and I was curious to see what it was going to say," said Burke. "As someone who has always sort of subscribed to best practices in public health, I appreciate what the report said, and it has certainly given me something to think about in regard to any potential flavor bans or how we're going to regulate it in New York State."

On Wednesday, Joel Giambra, who represents Demand Vape, shared some of the highlights of the report, and he says it's time for more legislators to take notice.

"Our state lawmakers and the governor must recognize that commercially-made nicotine products have not been identified as the cause of this recent outbreak of lung disease, illness and unfortunate deaths," said Giambra.

While Burke believes more study is needed, he is now more interested in finding creative legislation that will work with the industry to help keep the products out of the hands of young people.

"I'm not dogmatic in anything I'm doing, so I think the information that I had before led me to the position I had taken, and the more research that has become available with this new report gives me enough pause," said Burke. "I have significant concerns regarding the use of e-cigs with children, particularly. We have to find out a way to use this exclusively as a tool to help people quit smoking."

When asked for comment, the governor's office released the following statement:

The New York Department of Health is reviewing the CDC’s report but we noted the CDC’s recommendation that people still refrain from the use of all e-cigarette and vaping products, which is consistent with what the Governor has been saying all along.

Listen to Burke's full comments below:

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