The New York Times reports that Governor Andrew Cuomo is signing yet another bill into law which seeks to save people from themselves, this time based on some rather dodgy science. (Or a lack of scientific rigor entirely.) Electronic cigarettes and all other products associated with “vaping” will soon be, “banned from public indoor spaces in New York State.” In other words, vaping will be illegal in all the same places where cigarette smoking is.
In his statement, the governor cites long-term risks to the health of users and those around them as part of his rationale. While I don’t know of any sane person who thinks that vaping is better for you than breathing clean, fresh air, these comments fly in the face of current science. First of all, vaping is still so new that we have absolutely no idea about the long-term effects. This is only one of several points made by Andrew Stuttaford at National Review. He cites the results of studies done by Britain’s Royal College of Physicians, which show that there are not yet any indications that passive exposure to e-cigarette vapors pose a secondary risk to others, nor can they identify a way that such exposure could reach measurable levels in the system. So what is Cuomo up to here? Andrew has a theory.
Governor Cuomo quite clearly doesn’t do #science. He’s not, however, a stupid man. What’s going on here is blend of virtue-signaling, puritan bossiness and, I suspect, a sharp eye on the tax revenues that tobacco brings in.
Same old, same old, you might say, except that in this case it is likely to cost lives.
It’s the “costing lives” part which is critical here. Treating vaping the same as smoking burning tobacco is not only scientifically faulty, but dangerous as well. Check out some of the beginner’s information on vaping at Vapebuzz. While nobody is claiming that nicotine is good for you (it’s actually addictive and poisonous at sufficiently high levels), the real health culprit in smoking cigarettes is all of the other vaporized toxins you’re getting from the fire. And by switching to vaping, people are able to avoid those toxins while hopefully kicking the habit entirely.
But is the harmful aspect of cigarettes the nicotine? Not really; it’s the combustion of organic material. The act of burning the plant matter causes a whole bunch of chemical reactions, releasing nasty chemicals like carbon monoxide, tar, benzene, and hydrogen cyanide.
E-cigarettes and vaping are about harm reduction not harm elimination. A common approach to vaping is to start with a nicotine dose that matches what you would have received from your smoking habit, and then slowly, over the course of time lower the dose until you reach 0mg nicotine in your juice. At that point you can be sure that it is only the psychological habit that keeps you reaching for the vaporizer, we have heard many customers report that they simply stopped using their vaporizer, without any conscious effort.
It’s going to take time for long-term studies to be completed before anyone can say anything definitive about the effects of vaping on the ones using it, to say nothing of those around them. But thus far we’ve yet to see indications that second-hand exposure to exhaled vapors is impacting anyone. It is, however, working to help people who want to stop lighting up.
Just speaking anecdotally, I personally know a number of people who have cut out smoking tobacco entirely by switching to vaping and they unanimously report feeling much better for it. New York has now joined the list of virtue signaling liberal bastions who are so eager to look as if they’re “doing something” (anything!) that they’re willing to throw science out the window.
But a liberal’s first instinct is to regulate and tax “sin” as they define it. That’s what we’re seeing with Cuomo, who still fancies himself a presidential candidate in 2020. Just imagine this guy setting policy for the entire nation.