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Ban all flavors in tobacco products

Credit: AP/Elise Amendola

The American Heart Association is disappointed with the limited scope the Nassau County Legislature took in its bill to ban the sale of certain flavored e-cigarettes [“Nassau bill would ban most flavored e-cigs,” News, Nov. 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 candy-flavored e-cigarettes are hooking youth, so are mint- and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes and combustible menthol cigarettes. Mint and menthol flavoring in 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% of African American smokers.

We cannot leave menthol cigarettes on the table once again. They 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 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 to help curb combustible tobacco use by removing flavors from all deadly tobacco products.

Dr. Russell Schiff,

Plainview

Editor’s note: The writer is president of the American Heart Association’s Long Island board of directors.

Flotation devices for paddleboarders?

As an avid paddleboarder and kayaker, I applaud the bill by State Assemb. Fred Thiele that would require users of some watercraft to wear personal flotation devices.

I take exception to a Nov. 24 letter calling to exempt paddleboarders [“Paddleboards should be exempted in bill,” Just Sayin’, Nov. 23]. The writer claims anyone using such a board “should know how to swim.” This is not about swimming. A personal flotation device could save someone who has a traumatic event, gets tangled in a paddleboard leash, hits his or her head while falling or is involved in a boating accident.

I will go further to say that flotation devices that require the user to take action to cause the device to inflate should not qualify. A tragic event occurred Aug. 2 on Hashamomuck Pond in Southold when an experienced paddleboarder tried to help another person and drowned [“Woman drowns in paddleboarding accident, police say,” News, Aug. 4]. Police said the 49-year-old victim’s board hit a bridge piling, throwing her into strong current. Tethered to the board, she could not free herself. Police said a personal flotation device remained undeployed in a nylon fanny pack.

Search online and you will find other deaths while kayaking or canoeing without a personal flotation device, including on Long Island. Let’s respect the water and the inherent risks and enjoy water sports in a safe and responsible manner.

Les Cohn,

  Dix Hills

A bill from Assemb. Fred Thiele would require anyone using a “pleasure vessel” less than 21 feet long to wear a life jacket. So a person using a 20-foot boat at anchor in calm waters away from boat traffic, with no children or alcohol on board on a sweltering day, would have to wear a life jacket because someone decided that 21 feet is the cutoff point.

It seems like every time someone does something stupid in a vehicle or vessel, everyone else has to pay for it, either with more expensive equipment built into new cars or more rules and regulations that infringe upon our enjoyment.

I’m going to lobby my boating friends and neighbors and boating organizations to fight this legislation. If Thiele wants to wear a life jacket when he’s on a boat, that’s fine! Leave the responsible boaters alone.

Thomas Duignan,

  West Islip

It seems ironic that all four paddleboarders are wearing flotation devices in a photo published along with a reader’s Nov. 23 letter in opposition to requiring people using such boards to wear such devices. While at least two of the pictured paddleboarders wear the ankle leash that the reader claims should be considered adequate flotation protection, one clearly is not.

Contrary to the reader’s contention that life jackets make paddleboarders less safe because they prevent diving underwater to avoid waves and other boards, inflatable life jackets do not inflate unless triggered by the wearer. They would not interfere with a wearer’s ability to swim or dive until the wearer gets in trouble and pulls a cord to inflate the device.

I support the bill to require some boaters and paddleboarders to wear flotation devices.

Chart Guthrie,

  Calverton

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