After hundreds of reported cases of a lung illness, vape panic is gripping the country. In designing bans, officials need to guard against unintended consequences.
Friday, building on what earlier evidence strongly suggested, federal health officials said the spreading sickness is likely tied to black-market, unregulated products containing THC.
Officials are doing too little to distinguish that health problem from a separate phenomenon: skyrocketing rates of teens, drawn in by candy flavors and potent advertising, getting addicted to Juul and other e-cigarettes. Those aren’t good for you but are they traditional cigarette-level dangerous? Jury’s still out.
Overbroad prohibition risks driving adult vapers toward other smoking products, either toxic tobacco or unregulated fluids.
To that end, Gov. Cuomo’s late addition of menthol to a new ban on e-cig flavors should be swiftly followed by a ban on traditional menthol cigarettes. If not, the state risks driving some people away from a product with unknown health risks to one that we know causes cancer.