A woman vapes with an electronic cigarette in 2019. 

A woman vapes with an electronic cigarette in 2019.  Credit: AP/Tony Dejak

I read “Vaping declines since 2019 among teenagers” [News, Aug. 1] with great interest and concern. As CEO of Soter Technologies, I have been on the front lines of the vaping epidemic since 2017 and work with schools and advocates who are focused to protect young people from the harmful health risks of vaping.

Reported declines in youth vaping are likely skewed and impacted by the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw forced school closures, business lockdowns and mandated remote learning. Students were forced to learn from home and many experienced high stress levels from isolation.

According to parents, principals and superintendents that I work with, as of the end of the 2022 spring school semester, it is clear that youth vaping is now back and likely worse than it was in 2019. School administrators are desperate for ways to stop young people from vaping and getting addicted to nicotine.

Vape industry media states that the market is approximately $6.1 billion and is expected to grow by 27% by 2028. Many big tobacco companies own or are investors in vape device and fluid/juice manufacturers. These companies know their products with nicotine are highly addictive and they target young people.

We appreciate the hopeful news that youth vaping may have declined. However, we must continue to educate young people and parents about the harmful effects that vaping has on developing bodies.

There are still potentially millions of young people who are vaping and harming themselves. Sadly, some young people have died from this habit with even more to follow.

— Derek Peterson, Ronkonkoma

In reading that vaping has decreased among teenagers, I raise several important points that should be asked of the researchers:

Did people stop vaping to protect their lungs from COVID-19, or did they stop vaping because they became positive for COVID? Is COVID positivity higher in people who were vaping, and could that account for young people who are hospitalized with COVID?

It seems that vaping and the decreased lung capacity could be a risk factor for the young people who get symptomatic COVID and need to be hospitalized. The researchers should look into all these things.

— Dr. Edward StroH, Rockville Centre

Get big money out of government

While I agree with and applaud Michael Dobie’s ballot ideas suggestion, there is one extremely significant idea he left out: ending the corruption of government by big money “It’s time we put ideas on the ballot,” Opinion, July 31].

Two anti-democratic Supreme Court decisions have corrupted the political-economic system of the United States. Buckley v. Valeo, in 1976, made speech equal to money, and Citizens United v. FEC, in 2010, opened the floodgates to nearly unlimited campaign contributions from wealthy donors and corporations. We now have the worst government, at all levels, that money can buy.

Both disastrous decisions must be overturned and the real power — campaign and lobbying contributions — given to ordinary people, not the oligarchs and corporations.

A political-economic system in which a minority of wealthy donors have much more power than the majority of citizens can never be a democracy.

— Ed Ciaccio, Little Neck

So let me understand this — Kansas voters got to vote on the abortion provision in their state constitution [“Kansas voters reject change on abortions,” News, Aug. 4].

What a novel idea: Voters get to decide what protections they can have from decisions being set upon them by officials they elected to represent them. Why aren’t all the states doing this?

— Vicki Appel, Massapequa Park

Electoral College good for rural U.S.

A reader suggests eliminating the Electoral College [“Centrist candidates will be fall’s winners,” Letters, July 31]. If that ever happens, then every president likely will be chosen by the residents of large cities, diminishing the votes of rural America. It would give these residents little reason to vote as the results would essentially be predetermined.

The Electoral College was implemented because the Founding Fathers did not want all future presidents to get elected by the larger, most populous states.

— Robert Kralick, Glen Head

It’s not the guns — criminals the problem

I am sick of gun bashers talking about the number of guns in this country as compared with others [“Abe assassination puts U.S. guns in perspective,” Letters, July 24].

Most “gun crimes” are committed by criminals, not law-abiding gun owners. Time to focus on the real problem — the criminals who are being treated with kid gloves and a failure to enforce gun laws already on the books.

— Pat Weiss, East Quogue

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