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The Great Vape-Out!


The irony that prevails in this state (and country for that matter) is laughable. And the NIMBY-effect is front and center in what is being labeled as the latest epidemic: vaping. So much so, the Governor of Massachusetts has ordered a four-month ban on the sale of ALL – yess ALLL – vaping products in Massachusetts, and goes so far as declaring ‘vaping’ a public health emergency.


Well, go on Charlie! I mean way to get in front of this MAJOR problem! So what small business owners won’t have enough to celebrate the holidays this year or go out of business all together? It’s their fault that they got in bed with the e-cigarette devil, right?


So what that according to the World Health Organization: tobacco kills up to half of its users and kills more than 8 million people each year; more than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. (Do w have the stats on second-hand vape?)


So what closer to home, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services reports 611 confirmed opioid-overdose fatalities in the state – this year - so far.


So what earlier this spring, the American Addiction Centers gave the gold baton of underage drinking to - low and behold - Massachusetts with the highest rate of underage drinking in the country at nearly 29% of minors between the ages of 12-20 (second: North Dakota). That’s first place – this year – so far.


But I digress. After all, Massachusetts is looking at an alarming 61 “potential (yes that’s potential) cases of lung disease related to the use of electronic cigarettes and vaping.”


We DO have a crisis on our hands that needs immediate attention.


No – not the one that makes selling cigarettes illegal in an effort to save the future lives of 1.1 billion potential smokers worldwide; or the one that will prosecute manufacturers who irresponsibly create drugs that cause immediate addiction and kill; or the one that threatens jail time to anyone who knowingly serves alcohol to a minor.


May I digress again?


The United Health Foundation found that 10.3% or approximately 266,000 households in Massachusetts experienced hunger last year – meaning children, families and adults didn’t eat! This year, the numbers are estimated at 616,090 people struggling with or going hungry – 1 in 9 of which are children. This year – so far.


I’m back.


Let’s get back to this crisis of vaping. Do I vape – no. But I’m not the consumer these advertisers were looking to convert. Lest not forget the marketing campaign behind its leading supplier Juul: vaping is less harmful than cigarettes. I guess what they were going for was setting yourself on fire without gasoline will kill you in less the time. Good job!


Juul’s chief executive officer was “voted off the island”!


But it’s not all corporate America’s fault. Juul marketed to white teens leaving an open market for urban youth – enter stage left-on-the-cutting-room-floor Ghostface Killah – whose 2016 track “Starry Winters” advertised his brand of Dynamite Stix vape pens to a, shall we say, different audience:


“Pineapple, coconut, sample the golden puff USB charger, attach the battery, load the cartridge”


Ummm!!!! Sign me up!


My question is – who was minding the store, guys? It seems the hack FDA decided to sit this one out, I guess, leaving room for the bench to hit the court. No, not Liar-In-Chief Trump. He has way too much money to lose plus he’s busy trying to divert the mass-shooting crisis in this country and not get impeached. No, it takes a Kennedy to rear his redhead, calling what the FDA did or lack thereof - a “massive regulatory failure.”


Ya think?


And how about Ned Sharpless or should we call him Heartless, the acting Commissioner of the FDA who said, “the agency should have acted sooner.”


DUH!


This after his ousted predecessor Scott Gottlieb claimed the agency acted “boldly to reduce death and disease from tobacco including calling youth vaping an epidemic for the first time and seeking broad restrictions.”


Day late – dollar short – 9 deaths – this year, so far.


Problem:


We continue to buy into the idea that there’s a quick fix or easier way to achieve the same goal. We did it with dieting – so much so that we are fatter than we have ever been. Don’t get me wrong, the so-called “diet pill” worked because a corpse can’t gain weight.


And before the magic skinny pill was the Diet or Zero or soda Free drinks. Diet drinks were originally marketed for people with diabetes so they could enjoy sodas without the sugar until it was introduced to the general public. Decades later we know consuming large quantities of diet drinks can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, dementia, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, and yes - obesity.


We have become a nation of instinct gratification – faster, quicker, better despite the risks. We don’t even want to drive our cars anymore! Personal responsibility has been replaced with government regulation AFTER people start to die.


Solution:


Let’s start with the ban, Governor Baker. It is – at the very least – a start. Hunger, opioid addiction, underage drinking, and mass shootings can wait.

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