Albany, New York, bans vaping products in pharmacies (but not NRTs)

In 2014, Albany County, home of New York’s state capital, passed a bill that would essentially ban the sales of all vaping products in local pharmacies.  The legislation would be eventually vetoed by County Executive Dan McCoy, but anti-vaping lawmakers did not give up their fight.  They tried again last Monday led by Albany County Legislator Paul Miller, and this time they were successful. 

By a vote of 26-11, the vaping ban is now law and will include certain grocery stores along with all pharmacies countrywide.  Miller claims that the move is in the best interests of public health.  He even suggests that e-liquids and liquid nicotine products pose the same threats as combustible tobacco products, even though there are volumes off scientific research to the contrary.

“We aren’t outlawing tobacco in the county, but we are saying that we want to reduce the number of people that get addicted to cigarettes and nicotine.”
- Legislator Paul Miller courtesy of WRGB Albany


Following Miller’s logic, why wouldn’t Albany County also ban the sales of conventional nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs)?  If any product that contains nicotine is harmful to public health and has the potential for users to “get addicted to cigarettes,” wouldn’t this reasoning also apply to other nicotine-infused products like lozenges, patches, and gums manufactured by Big Pharma? 

Multiple studies prove vaping is not a gateway to smoking

One of the most well-respected research studies published in 2016 estimates that vaping technology could theoretically save 3.3 million years of life among the U.S. smoking population by the year 2070.  The Monitoring the Future Study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine involved the running of multiple simulations, many of which were targeted specifically towards teenagers and vaping.

Related Article:  New study discredits CDC claims of vaping as gateway to teen smoking

The study’s findings show that while vaping may lead to a slight increase in vaping experimentation among teens in the short-term, transitions to adult use of combustible tobacco products over the long-term are significantly reduced.  To put this another way, teenagers of every generation have long experimented with smoking.  But the e-liquids of vaping products do not contain the thousands of needlessly added chemicals found in combustible cigarettes – chemicals intentionally included by Big Tobacco to get and keep the experimenting smoker and addicted.  If teens are going to experiment, isn’t it healthier that they experiment with less-addictive e-cigs than conventional, highly-additive tobacco products?

In the interview with WRGB News, a government policy analyst from the Manhattan Institute takes issue with the new vaping ban.   In the report, Charles Hughes claims that these new and excessive restrictions on the availability of vaping technology will only lead to further, possibly massive increases in smoking rates among both teens and adults. 

“Failing to recognize the differences between conventional cigarettes and e-cigarettes could slow the rate at which people shift away from conventional cigarette.”

As backup to his pro-vaping assertions, Hughes also references a more recent 2017 vaping study conducted by the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.  The paper suggests that if an estimated 6.6 million smokers worldwide switched to vaping as a form a tobacco harm reduction, then they could increase their cumulative lifespan by approximately 86 million years.  The Lombardi study entitled Tobacco smokers could gain 86 million years of life if they switch to vaping is available for review via the Science Daily

Related Article: Smokers can save 86 million years of life by switching to vaping, says study

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