Kudos to legislator for vaping end
When entering the government center in Monticello November 9, it would have been hard for a visitor to miss seeing three posters in the lobby: One was a picture of the county chair Luis Alvarez holding a sign that said, “I support no smoking on county property,” another was legislator Mark McCarthy holding the same sign and the third was a picture of legislator Joe Perello holding a sign that said, “I support no smoking on county property because it is helping me not to smoke.”
In the past Perello had been known, on occasion, to bring a vape pen into the legislative meeting room, and occasionally inhale from it. There was really no smell associated with it, and this newspaper isn’t aware of any complaints about that. But then, at the end of October, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law that bans vaping—the smoking of e-cigarettes—in any place where tobacco smoking is also prohibited, and that may have inspired action at the government center.
At the November 9 county meeting, deputy county manager Daniel Depew said that the legislature passed a policy of no smoking in county buildings several years ago, but that policy has been “dimly enforced, at best.” He said strict enforcement of the policy was discussed at a county manager’s meeting, and it was agreed that the strict enforcement should not begin abruptly, but should be preceded by a campaign. He said all of the legislators are being asked to pose with signs, which they call commitment boards, which will then be displayed. Other measures are also being taken. Depew said January 1 is the “drop-dead date” when strict enforcement will begin.
Regarding Perello, he said, “The guy has not had his vape pipe in this building in two weeks,” which sparked a round of applause.
Last year, a report on e-cigarettes and vaping made clear that the use of these products is posing a growing problem for people in this country, especially teens.
The report says, “E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used form of tobacco by youth in the U.S. And dual use, or using both e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes, is common among youth and young adults 18 to 25 years of age. Reasons reported by young people for using e-cigarettes include curiosity, taste and the belief that e-cigarettes are less harmful than other tobacco products.
“Flavored e-cigarettes are very popular, especially with young adults. More than 9 of every 10 young adult e-cigarette users said they use e-cigarettes flavored to taste like menthol, alcohol, candy, fruit, chocolate, or other sweets. More than 8 of every 10 youth ages 12-17 who use e-cigarettes said they use flavored e-cigarettes.”
The products, of course, are delivering nicotine and/or other potentially harmful substances to the bloodstream, lungs and other internal organs of the users.
One of the possible negative impacts of e-cigarettes or vaping is that “nicotine can cross the placenta and has known effects on fetal and postnatal development. Therefore, nicotine delivered by e-cigarettes during pregnancy can result in multiple adverse consequences, including sudden infant death syndrome, and could result in altered corpus callosum [nerve fibers joining the two hemispheres of the brain], deficits in auditory processing and obesity.
“E-cigarettes can expose users to several chemicals, including nicotine, carbonyl compounds, and volatile organic compounds, known to have adverse health effects. The health effects and potentially harmful doses of heated and aerosolized constituents of e-cigarette liquids, including solvents, flavorants, and toxicants, are not completely understood.”
The impact may not be completely understood, but it’s probably safe to say the healthier option is not to use e-cigarettes or vape pens. We wish Perello success in his effort to quit, and welcome the opportunity provided by the ban in the legislature to raise public awareness of the dangers of e-cigarettes as well as traditional tobacco products.