The hypocrisy is astounding.
Being kind, I will say the recent moves by the federal and state governments to ban flavored vaping liquid is misdirected.
If I was more of a cynic, I would say President Donald Trump is kowtowing to big tobacco, just like Washington DC has done for decades.
I’m not sure of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s motivation, but his Health Department first put out an erroneous statement blaming legal vape products for six deaths and other “mysterious” pulmonary ailments. It never fully backtracked but kind of acknowledged that the deaths and illnesses were from vaping black market THC cartridges laced with something called Vitamin E acetate.
It was a perfect set up for his executive order to ban all flavored vape products. Again, the state stole the Albany County Legislature’s thunder and usurped its plans to ban flavored e-liquid in this county. Statewide, at least, makes more sense than chasing potential customers to a neighboring county.
It comes at a time too when the state toys with the idea of legalizing marijuana, the infamous gateway drug. That’s telling kids it’s OK to do a bong hit of killer weed so long as you don’t vape.
I’ve never heard of Vitamin E oil, but a quick Google search says it can occur naturally and is processed as part of multi-vitamin supplements which are ingested, or in creams and other cosmetics meant for topical use. It can also be synthesized, called Vitamin E acetate, which one chemistry professor said is basically “grease” and that is what health experts are not focusing on as the culprit.
I’m not 100 percent sure what the advantage is of putting it into a THC cartridge, but my guess it has something to do with making a small amount of THC liquid into a larger amount.
It doesn’t take an accounting major to figure out a large amount of THC is worth more money than a small amount, and while I may be naïve regarding many of life’s ambiguities, I am not surprised there are unscrupulous drug dealers.
If they ban flavored e-liquid, what about everything else along those same lines. They make vodka to taste like everything from apples to whipped cream — and Smirnoff actually makes one called “kissed caramel” — so I fail to see how that is any different.
I bet a shot of kissed caramel will go well with a bong hit.
Critics say the e-liquid people are intentionally marketing to or youth to get them hooked. How about the alcohol ads? Tell me they don’t make try to convince you that you too could be dancing on Broadway or driving this fancy car after drinking just a glass of this scotch.
Or the Budweiser Clydesdale horses with the patriotic undertones? What kid doesn’t like horses, and who doesn’t want to be patriotic. Drink 12 Budweisers and you too will ride a cool horse into battle to save the American way.
Advertisers have been manipulating the way we think long before the Marlboro man wore diapers.
So, why not ban alcohol and all cigarettes. Cigarettes earned the moniker “cancer sticks.” The long term health consequences of vaping are not yet precisely known, and I’d bet they are probably not great, but I’d bet even more that they are not as bad as cigarettes. Yet, anyone of legal age can pick up a pack of smokes at any convenience store.
Again, naïve over here, but I find it hard to believe big tobacco, and all their wads of cash, have nothing to do with the smaller e liquid manufacturers that are taking a slice of their market.
All that said, nobody want kids to vape or smoke. I wish I never picked up my first cigarette at the tender age of 15.
That is why I am all in favor of the regulations we have now. In this state, flavored e-liquid can only be sold in stores where you have to be at least 21 to enter. That means you can’t get a 60 ml bottle of Killer Kustard at Stewart’s.
And there are different types of vaping too. There are cartridges that come loaded with liquid and plugged into a battery shaped most commonly like a pen or a stick of gum. Those come in high levels of nicotine and those are the ones that seem to be causing all the problems, especially in the schools.
Just an FYI, the company that owns Marlboro invested $12.8 billion in Juul, the largest manufacturer of the cartridge type of vape products. Funny how big tobacco keeps popping up in this discussion.
Increased enforcement of retailers who do sell to the underage is one aspect of the governor’s plan I do agree with. The kid who vapes in the bathroom — not unlike the kid of my day who smoked in the bathroom — should be punished, but it’s better to find out where the kid got it from because odds are that entity sold it to more than just one kid.
While the numbers vary and are impossible to accurately determine, it is indisputable more kids are vaping. Less kids are smoking traditional cigarettes, too. See the correlation? More kids are probably vaping than would have otherwise smoked and there is another reason for big tobacco to get in on the game. Hooking kids on nicotine is their bread and butter and has been for more than a century.
The other type of vaping, which I use, utilizes a box, which holds batteries and a tank that is refilled with liquid purchased in various size containers of various different flavors and nicotine levels.
It’s been nearly four years since I picked up my last Camel light, and I have not felt better in years. Not to mention the money I have saved and the upholstery I didn’t burn. While I quit probably 2,897,391 times, the final straw was when the cherry fell off my roll-it-yourself smoke and burned a hole in the seat of my truck.
Nobody is really sure what the federal or state government’s ban will look like as it’s all just ramped up rhetoric right now. Unlike big tobacco and big booze companies, the vaping industry doesn’t have the money to hire lawyers and/or lobbyists and finds itself a political punching bag.
An unenviable position, and it will take more than this column to make it right. All I can do is point out the hypocrisy.
Jim Franco can be reached at 518-878-1000 or at [email protected]