Mineola, NY – Nassau County Executive Laura Curran today addressed the growing trend of the use of “vaping” to smoke either nicotine or other drugs. Joined by Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder and Nassau County Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein, Curran outlined the many issues regarding vaping.
“Nicotine is a drug. THC is a drug. Using a vaping method to ingest either can have both negative health effects and, in the case of THC, be illegal,” said Curran. “Don’t be fooled into thinking either one is harmless.”
Vaping (also known as E-cigarettes) is a rapidly growing public health concern in the United States. Although vaping is often marketed as a smoking cessation alternative, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved these devices for smoking cessation. In fact, evidence suggests that they are a gateway to tobacco use among our youth.
“Research continues to be done, but the health risks of vaping are real,” said Dr. Eisenstein. “E-cigarettes are not just water vapor and flavoring, the aerosol created by e-cigarettes can contain ingredients that are harmful and potentially harmful to the public’s health, including nicotine, flavorings such as diacetyl-a chemical linked to serious lung disease—volatile organic compounds such as benzene, which is found in car exhaust, and heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead.”
There has also been a sharp increase nationwide in the use of vaping to ingest Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Although it may appear to be a safer alternative to actually smoking the marijuana plant it still carries the same negative health effects of THC use.
“I think that people have the perception that because it is not marijuana being smoked in a pipe or another method, it is not illegal,” said Commissioner Ryder. “That could not be further from the truth. The police treat THC vape cartridges the same way they treat any other illegal drug. You will be arrested and prosecuted.”
County Executive Curran has asked all county agencies to work together to address the situation. “Ensuring the health and safety of every person in Nassau County is the most important mission we have as public servants,” said County Executive Curran. “My administration will continue to foster team work and combined strategies to address the dangers of vaping throughout the entire county.”