Outlaw vape marketing to young people
As vaping devices first were mass-marketed more than a decade ago to help smokers get off tobacco, many experts warned that the devices posed addiction dangers of their own and that they would be marketed to young people.
The industry insisted that the devices were intended only to help smokers quit rather than to lure non-smokers, without explaining why the liquids vaporized in the devices came in flavors such as bubble gum.
There is little question that vaping is safer than smoking tobacco because the vapor does not deliver the carcinogenic tar produced by cigarettes. But safer is not the same thing as safe.
Vaping helps smoking addicts by eliminating the tobacco but it works by delivering nicotine, the addictive substance in tobacco, often in higher amounts than in individual cigarettes.
But now, young people who never have smoked are a primary market for vaping devices, and nicotine keeps them coming back.
A study released earlier this year by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine concluded that vaping led students to smoke cigarettes, although it did not determine whether they became habitual or one-time cigarette smokers.
And a National Institute on Drug Abuse study found that students who had only vaped while in high school were four times more likely to try tobacco after graduating, than those who had not vaped.
The New York Times reported last week on a disturbing national trend in which thousands of students clandestinely vape while in class, using devices that the industry supposedly does not market to young people.
Using the same regulatory techniques that have helped to vastly reducing national smoking rates and the misery that comes with the addiction, federal and state governments should outlaw vape marketing to young people.
— The Wilkes-Barre Citizens’ Voice, The Associated Press
It was supposed to bring Pennsylvania’s statewide police radio communications into the 21st century. Instead, the system dubbed OpenSky left state police radio communications disrupted — if not occasionally disconnected.
Now years after its scheduled implementation, at a cost four times its original estimate, answers are owed about this $800 million boondoggle.
An audit is a starting point in determining how a radio system, authorized in 1996 at a cost of $179 million, devolved into a techno-morass that actually impaired state police communications in major investigations — most notably, during the manhunt for Eric Frein, who killed a trooper during a 2014 ambush outside a state police barracks in the Poconos.
In recent Senate testimony, state police Maj. Diane Stackhouse said OpenSky was “worthless during the Frein manhunt.”
The proprietary system so badly inhibited communications with local and federal authorities that another system was brought in.
And while the replacement P25 radio system is now being used in four Pennsylvania counties, with four more to be added by June, there remains the matter of clearing the cloud cover that looms over OpenSky.
At least one state senator has called for a criminal investigation, which the state Attorney General’s Office would not confirm or deny. Ultimately what’s needed, and long overdue, is a refund.
— The Pittsburgh TribuneReview, The Associated Press