Readers Write: Nassau Legislature falls short on flavored e-cigs

The American Heart Association is very disappointed with the limited scope the Nassau County Legislature took yesterday [“Nassau bill would ban most flavored e-cigs”, Letters, Nov. 26] which would ban the sale of certain flavored e-cigarettes, and hopes that there is an opportunity to include all flavored tobacco products, including menthol combustible cigarettes.

The announcement by the Nassau County Legislature simply does not go far enough to protect Long Islanders from the health risks associated with tobacco use and nicotine addiction.

While candy-flavored e-cigarettes are hooking youth, so are mint and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes and combustible menthol cigarettes. Mint and menthol flavoring in all tobacco products makes it easier to start using and harder to quit.

In 2009, flavored combustible cigarettes were banned from sale nationally, with the exception of menthol cigarettes. Since then, menthol cigarettes have grown in popularity, with more than half of all youth and young adult smokers using them, along with 85 percent of African-American smokers.

We cannot leave menthol cigarettes on the table once again. We know that menthol cigarettes have been successfully promoted and marketed disproportionately to youth and African American communities for decades.

Restricting the sale of all flavors in all tobacco products is a must if we want to eliminate tobacco use and keep future generations from ever picking up this dangerous addiction.

We urge the Nassau County Legislature to take this one step further in order to help curb combustible tobacco use by removing flavors from all deadly tobacco products. 

Dr. Russell Schiff


American Heart Association’s Long Island Board of Directors

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