The American Heart Association is disappointed with the limited scope that the Nassau County Legislature took in its bill to ban the sale of certain flavored electronic cigarettes ["The Nassau bill would ban most flavored electronic cigarettes ", News, November 26].
The bill simply does not go far enough to protect long islanders from the health risks associated with tobacco use and nicotine addiction. While caramel-flavored electronic cigarettes engage youth, so are mint and menthol-flavored electronic cigarettes and combustible menthol cigarettes. The mint and menthol flavor in tobacco products makes it easier to start using it and more difficult to quit.
In 2009, the sale of nationally flavored cigarettes was banned, with the exception of menthol cigarettes. Since then, menthol cigarettes have grown in popularity, with more than half of young smokers and young adults using them, along with 85% of African-American smokers.
We can't leave menthol cigarettes on the table once again. They have been successfully promoted and marketed disproportionately among youth and African-American communities for decades. Restricting the sale of all flavors in all tobacco products is essential to eliminate tobacco consumption and prevent future generations from detecting this dangerous addiction.
We urge the Nassau County Legislature to go one step further to help curb the consumption of combustible tobacco by eliminating the flavors of all deadly tobacco products.
Dr. Russell Schiff
Editor's Note: The writer is chairman of the Long Island board of directors of the American Heart Association.
Register at The Point
Enter the politics of New York.
Flotation devices for paddleboarders?
As an avid paddle and kayaker, I applaud the State Assemb bill. Fred Thiele that would require users of some vessels to use personal flotation devices.
I demand a letter from November 24 to exempt paddleboarders ["Paddle boards must be exempt on the bill," Just Sayin, November 23]. The writer says that anyone who uses such a board "should know how to swim." It is not about swimming. A personal flotation device could save someone who has a traumatic event, becomes entangled with a rowing belt, hits their head while falling or is involved in a navigation accident.
I will go further to say that flotation devices that require the user to take measures to make the device inflate should not qualify. A tragic event occurred on August 2 at Hashamomuck Pond in Southold when an experienced surfer tried to help another person and drowned ["The woman drowns in a rowing accident, police say," News, August 4]. Police said the 49-year-old victim's board hit the bridge pile and threw it into a strong current. Tied to the board, he couldn't break free. Police said a personal flotation device remained unfolded in a nylon fanny pack.
Search online and you will find other deaths while sailing in a kayak or canoe without a personal flotation device, even on Long Island. Let's respect the water and the inherent risks and enjoy water sports in a safe and responsible way.
An invoice from Assemb. Fred Thiele would require that anyone who uses a "pleasure vessel" less than 21 feet long wear a life jacket. Then, a person using a 20-foot boat anchored in calm waters away from boat traffic, without children or alcohol on board on a suffocating day, would have to wear a life jacket because someone decided that 21 feet is the cutoff point.
It seems that every time someone does something stupid in a vehicle or boat, everyone else has to pay for it, either with more expensive equipment integrated into new cars or more rules and regulations that violate our enjoyment.
I will press my navigation friends and neighbors and navigation organizations to fight against this legislation. If Thiele wants to wear a life jacket when he's in a boat, that's fine! Leave the responsible navigators alone.
It seems ironic that the four paddleboarders use flotation devices in a photo posted along with a letter from the reader on November 23 as opposed to demanding that people using such tables use such devices. While at least two of the paddleboarders in the photo use the ankle strap that the reader says should be considered adequate flotation protection, one clearly is not.
Contrary to the reader's claim that lifejackets make paddleboarders less safe because they avoid underwater diving to avoid waves and other boards, inflatable life jackets do not inflate unless they are activated by the user. They would not interfere with the user's ability to swim or dive until the user gets into trouble and pulls a cord to inflate the device.
I support the bill to demand that some navigators and paddleboarders use flotation devices.