Governor Cuomo: "These vaping products are extraordinarily dangerous. First of all, as you pointed out, correctly so Ali, they are predominantly being used by young people. You have, depending on the state, we estimate we have about 25% of high school students now vaping. At the end of the day, this is at best a nicotine product. And you're addicting young people twelve, thirteen, fourteen years old to nicotine. "
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo appeared on MSNBC with Ali Velshi.
AUDIO is available here.
A rush transcript of the Governor's interview is available below:
Ali Velshi: Governor, good to see you. Thank you for being with us. What is the legal basis behind this? Is this something you are able to get done? Are you worried about legal challenges to it?
Governor Cuomo: Good afternoon, good to be with you Ali. Yes, we have the ability in our state laws to issue a public health emergency notice, and that's what this is. If the state - we have a health planning council that makes a determination whether or not it is an imminent threat to the public health, and that was the legal basis. But it's not even close in this case. You have hundreds of young people who are coming down with illnesses. We have 74 cases in New York. About seven people have died. These vaping products are extraordinarily dangerous. First of all, as you pointed out, correctly so Ali, they are predominantly being used by young people. You have, depending on the state, we estimate we have about 25% of high school students now vaping. About 40% of twelfth graders vaping. That's worse than cigarettes ever were. And they're marketing to young people. The flavors of bubble gum, cotton candy, Scooby Doo. They're clearly targeting that audience and look, at the end of the day, this is at best a nicotine product. And you're addicting young people twelve, thirteen, fourteen years old to nicotine. Second, nobody knows the long-term health consequences of these devices where you're inhaling steam into your lungs with chemicals that haven't been tested. So we don't even know what that means. And third, there are what they call counterfeit or black market cartridges, pods that can attach to a device that have THC oils laced with other chemicals that nobody has looked at. Now, the manufacturers say well that's the bullet, I only make the gun. I know, I've gone through this with the gun industry. The bullet manufacturer blames the gun manufacturer and the gun manufacturer blames the bullet. I blame both of them and we've had deaths from these, quote unquote black market substances that mix a number of oils together.
Ali Velshi: Let me just read the response
Governor Cuomo: We saw this before, this was cigarettes.
Ali Velshi: Let me just read you, the New York State Vapor Association, you know about this - they have responded by saying, "Citing illnesses caused by black market THC cartridges laced with vitamin E acetate, a heavy oil that would never be found in commercial nicotine e-liquid, the Cuomo administration is redirecting blame to water-soluble, FDA-regulated e-liquid that has been marketed in the U.S. for over 12 years with no links to lung illness." That's what they're saying about that rationale.
Governor Cuomo: Yeah, two points. First, what they're saying is they didn't make the cartridge, they only make the device. That's many analogy, it's the gun manufacturers saying, "I didn't make the bullet." I know you didn't make the bullet, but you made the gun and the bullet went in the gun. So, and the law is presently in this state, you can't buy the vaping product if you're under 18 years old. We just moved it to 21 in November. So, young people aren't supposed to be getting it anyway. But what this is is the tobacco companies, Ali, moved from cigarettes to vaping. This is not mom and pop stores, these are big tobacco companies with big money, big lobbyists and it's worse than cigarettes were. The percentage of use among young people is higher. They were never allowed to sell flavored cigarettes, you didn't have Captain Crunch cigarettes, it was only tobacco or menthol. The federal government did that in 2009. They were never allowed to market to young people. And all of those things are happening in vaping. And we really don't know what it is and we're seeing these illnesses. It is literally a migration from cigarettes to this new product, and you have exposed an entire new generation to nicotine and the addiction to nicotine.
Ali Velshi: Governor, good to see you as always. Thank you for joining us. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.