Sunday October 20, 2019

New York Government Pushing to Enact Statewide Ban on Sale of Flavored E-Cigarettes

The council can issue emergency regulations that would go into effect as soon as they are voted on

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FILE - New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, seen in this Jan. 2019 file photo, says he's directing state health officials to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, citing the risk of young people getting addicted to nicotine, Jan. 29, 2019. VOA

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing to enact a statewide ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes amid growing health concerns connected to vaping, especially among young people.

The Democrat announced Sunday that the state health commissioner would be making a recommendation this week to the state Public Health and Health Planning Council. The council can issue emergency regulations that would go into effect as soon as they are voted on and start being enforced in as soon as two weeks, following a short grace period for retailers, officials said.

In announcing the action, Cuomo sharply criticized the flavors that are for sale, like bubble gum and cotton candy.

“These are obviously targeted to young people and highly effective at targeting young people,” he said.

New York, Government, Ban
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing to enact a statewide ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes amid growing health concerns connected to vaping. Pixabay

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing to enact a statewide ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes amid growing health concerns connected to vaping, especially among young people.

The Democrat announced Sunday that the state health commissioner would be making a recommendation this week to the state Public Health and Health Planning Council. The council can issue emergency regulations that would go into effect as soon as they are voted on and start being enforced in as soon as two weeks, following a short grace period for retailers, officials said.

In announcing the action, Cuomo sharply criticized the flavors that are for sale, like bubble gum and cotton candy.

“These are obviously targeted to young people and highly effective at targeting young people,” he said.

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The biggest player in the industry, Juul Labs Inc., said it was reviewing the announcement, but agreed with the need for action.

The ban would not impact tobacco- and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes, but Cuomo said the Department of Health would continue evaluating and that could change.

Cuomo signed legislation earlier this year raising the statewide smoking age to 21, and earlier this month signed a mandate that requires state anti-tobacco campaigns to also include vaping.

Vaping is also under a federal spotlight , as health authorities look into hundreds of breathing illnesses reported in people who have used e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.

New York, Government, Ban
The Democrat announced Sunday that the state health commissioner would be making a recommendation this week to the state Public Health and Health Planning Council. Pixabay

In his first public comments on vaping, President Donald Trump proposed a similar federal ban last week.

The FDA has been able to ban vaping flavors since 2016, but hasn’t taken the step, with officials looking into whether flavors could help cigarette smokers to quit.

The global market is estimated to have a value of as much as $11 billion. The industry has spent a lot of money in states around the country to lobby against state-level flavored e-cigarette bans, in states including Hawaii, California, Maine and Connecticut.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer earlier this month ordered that state’s health department to come out with emergency rules to prohibit flavored e-cigarette sales.

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Juul reiterated Sunday the agreeable stance it had taken following Trump’s proposal.

In an emailed statement, spokesman Austin Finan said, “We strongly agree with the need for aggressive category-wide action on flavored products,” and “will fully comply with local laws and the final FDA policy when effective.” (VOA)

Next Story

AI Can be a Helpful Tool for Government to Deliver Public Services

Case studies in the report highlight how a competitive selection process may spell the way forward to discover and initiate pioneering AI technology in public service delivery

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is emerging as a helpful tool for governments in the Asia Pacific region to deliver public services, revealed a new UN-Google report on Wednesday.

The study by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and Google cited case studies highlighting the importance of partnerships between governments and technology firms for the delivery of public services.

Among the case studies that the report mentioned included an AI initiative in India that informs farmers of the best sowing date to increase crop yields.

The state governments in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka teamed up with Microsoft to develop predictive AI services to help smallholder farmers to improve their crop yields and give them greater price control.

Since 2016 three applications have been developed. The report discussed two of these apps — the AI sowing app and the price forecasting model.

Both of the AI applications improved the lives of smallholder farmers in southern India by bridging information gaps and mitigating growing environmental risks. These AI services have the potential to increase crop yields, prices and incomes, the study concluded.

“The best part of the project is that the investment required by the farmers to benefit from the technology is minimal: all they need are a mobile phone capable of receiving text messages and a subscription to the most basic mobile phone services,” said the report.

Clearly, to make a technology accessible and affordable is a crucial step towards technology for inclusiveness.

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“Artificial intelligence is now one of the fastest-growing areas in all of science and one of the most talked-about topics in society.” VOA

“On the path to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, governments in Asia and the Pacific are urgently pursuing innovative means to deliver effective, efficient and fair public services,” said United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana.

“Frontier technologies such as AI hold promise to reimagine how the public sector can better serve sustainable development needs.”

The report also features insights as well as context-specific recommendations from deployments of AI in a variety of sectors: health, justice, agriculture, environment, insurance and social welfare.

Public-private partnerships will become increasingly important to complement government initiatives with industry knowledge and expertise, said the report.

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Amid the rapid pace of technological development, the report recommends that governments develop frameworks to regulate these partnerships and encourage more public information on AI projects to foster a landscape conducive to informed decision-making on AI partnerships.

Since applying AI in the public sector is still at an early stage of development, setbacks and a trial-and-error process may be inevitable.

Case studies in the report highlight how a competitive selection process may spell the way forward to discover and initiate pioneering AI technology in public service delivery. (IANS)