Testimony from:

Dr. Carrie Wade, R Street Institute

In Opposition to A 47, “Prohibits the sale and distribution
of flavored e-liquid which creates a distinguishable flavor or aroma for use in

June 6, 2019

Assembly Committee on

Chairman and members of the committee,

R Street Institute is a nonprofit,
nonpartisan, public policy research organization based out of
Washington, D.C. We strive to promote free markets and effective government
policies in many areas, including harm reduction.

My academic background is in the neural
mechanisms of addiction, evaluating neurochemical and anatomical changes that
happen in the brain following the onset of addiction. There has been a lot of
progress made in understanding what biological factors lead to dependence and
addiction and thus, how addiction can best be treated and managed. I believe
that harm reduction approaches can positively affect the health and welfare of
people who use addictive substances, which is why I write to you out of concern
over the proposal to prohibit the sale and distribution of flavored e-liquids.
While well intentioned, this proposal will adversely affect public health by
limiting safer alternatives to combustible cigarettes to the very people this aims
to protect. We encourage your city to consider policies that reflect the
reduced risk of e-cigarettes compared to combustible cigarettes.

The best available science indicates
e-cigarettes are not likely to exceed 5 percent of the harm associated with
combustible cigarettes – a conclusion supported by both Public Health England
and recently the National Academy of Sciences. Also, like traditional nicotine
replacement therapies, they do not produce the environmental tobacco smoke that
harms bystanders. Policy that encourages smokers to switch to e-cigarettes if
they cannot quit or do not wish to will significantly reduce the enormous
burden of disease that combustible cigarettes impose on society. It is
estimated that e-cigarettes have potential to save up to 6 million lives by
2100 if only 10 percent of current smokers switch to e-cigarettes over the next
10 years.

The International Journal of Environmental Research and
Public Health
reports that limitations in flavor
choices negatively impact user
. About 40 percent of former and current adult smokers predict
that removing their ability to choose flavors would make them less likely to
remain abstinent or attempt to quit. In fact, data suggests that current
smokers are partial to the flavor of traditional tobacco, while fruit and sweet
flavors are preferred by former smokers.

Moreover, it has recently been
demonstrated that e-cigarette users who use non-tobacco flavors, including
menthol and non-menthol (fruit, candy, desert) flavors are more likely to
completely switch from combustible cigarettes than those who choose tobacco

Policies that treat e-cigarettes equal
to traditional cigarettes encourage current smokers to continue doing enormous
harm to their health by discouraging a switch from combustible products.
Conversely, policies that reflect the reduced harm of e-cigarettes can
significantly reduce the enormous burden of disease that combustible cigarettes
impose on society. This includes policies that allow flavors to be available
for current smokers who consider flavors attractive features of e-cigarettes.

I applaud the efforts of the State of New York to recognize the impact of
smoking take steps to reduce the prevalence of smoking and e-cigarette use
among youth. Toward that end R Street supports 21-to-purchase initiatives. However,
it is important that the potential of e-cigarettes to mitigate risks associated
with combustible cigarettes be recognized if we wish to encourage a healthful

you for your time and consideration.

Respectfully Submitted,


Director of Harm Reduction Policy

R Street Institute

[email protected]

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