Cuomo, governors propose vaping, cannabis reforms – Politico

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Quick Fix

— Gov. Andrew Cuomo hosted governors from the northeast to investigate regional standards for vaping and e-cigarette products. The governors also released recommendations to create a broad policy framework for marijuana.

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— More advocates are joining the fight against a proposed Northwell Health expansion project on the Upper East Side. The mounting opposition to construction at Lenox Hill Hospital comes ahead of a full board meeting by Community Board 8 on Oct. 23.

— New York will receive more than $5 million from Johnson & Johnson for its deceptive marketing of transvaginal surgical mesh devices, according to Attorney General Tish James.

Policy and Politics

JUST LIKE THE PORT AUTHORITY — POLITICO’s Amanda Eisenberg and Sam Sutton: Top officials from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania are considering regional standards for vaping and e-cigarette products, including implementing product safety regulations for nicotine, CBD and other cannabinoid vaping products.

… The recommendations were presented Thursday morning by Judith Persichilli, New Jersey’s acting health commissioner, during a closed-door information session in New York City that was chaired by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Others participating were New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, as well as health officials from a half-dozen other Democrat-led states.

… The meeting marked the first attempt to create a regionalized approach to regulating the vaping and e-cigarette industries, which are at the center of a mysterious public health crisis that’s been linked to lung injuries in nearly 1,300 people across the U.S. as of Oct. 8. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also reported 26 deaths in 21 states.

— The presidents of the Connecticut, New Jersey and New York Medical Societies commended the regional approach but expressed some concerns. “Our medical societies continue to have serious concerns with proposals to legalize the purchase of recreational or so-called ‘adult use’ marijuana given the public health challenges that have arisen in other states that have legalized the purchase of marijuana for non-medical purposes.”

CANNABIS TOO — Sam reports: Five northeast governors agreed Thursday to a broad policy framework for a legal market for cannabis across the region, providing a rough sketch for how a multistate marijuana industry could eventually function. The framework, though broad in scope, contains specific policy recommendations that had been the subject of intense debate among state legislators and policymakers across the region, most notably in New York and New Jersey, where efforts to legalize cannabis through legislation failed earlier this year.

LENOX HILL OPPOSITION — Amanda reports: Preservation groups are joining the opposition to Lenox Hill Hospital expansion plans — the latest setback against Northwell Health’s $2.5 billion development proposal — ahead of a local community board vote next week. The groups — CIVITAS, Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts and Save Central Park NYC — join a coalition of Lenox Hill residents in pushing back against a suite of zoning changes that would allow a 516-foot hospital tower on the block, along with a 41-story condo building that would generate cash for the renovation. The construction is expected to take a decade.

SHARPTON ON MENTHOLS — Amanda spoke with Rev. Al Sharpton about his concerns that a menthol ban would criminalize the black community and create “another Eric Garner” situation, where an unarmed black man is killed by the police. Anti-tobacco activists have pointed out that Sharpton’s argument is flawed; menthol cigarettes and regular cigarettes don’t look different, and possession of the former wouldn’t warrant NYPD officers stopping and frisking New Yorkers.

Sharpton dismissed the argument, saying only an idiot would claim they could tell the difference and that the bill sponsors have not addressed concerns of stop-and-frisk. “The fact that there is a ban is only going to multiply [the number of loose cigarettes on the street],” Sharpton said.

Sharpton and the NAACP’s Hazel Dukes plan to meet with top NYPD brass to address those concerns. He declined to say when that meeting will take place.

CUOMO OKS PROTECTIONS FROM HOSPITAL ER BILLS — POLITICO’s Shannon Young: Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on Thursday that will subject hospital emergency charges to an independent dispute resolution process and requires insurers to guarantee that enrollees don’t incur greater costs for out-of-network ER services.

Odds and Ends

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NOW WE KNOW — Many baby foods sold in the U.S. have been found to contain toxic metals, including lead, arsenic and cadmium.

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TODAY’S TIP — Dr. Alan Geller, a psychiatrist at Gracie Square Hospital, recommends that while parents need to recognize when a child is being bullied and find help, bullying is disruptive behavior that also needs treatment. Bullies are typically bullied and, without help, their behavior can escalate and lead to serious consequences. Research shows bullies are at increased risk of substance abuse, academic problems and violence.

MAKE SURE TO FOLLOW Amanda @aeis17, Shannon @ShannonYoung413 and Dan @DanCGoldberg on Twitter. And for all New Jersey health news, check out @samjsutton.

STUDY THIS — Losing weight later in life may increase your risk of premature death, particularly from heart disease, a new study suggests.

Around New York

CANCER RISK — A New York State Department of Health report released this week found that residents living along the border of Buffalo’s East Side and Cheektowaga develop five types of cancer at unusually high rates — a finding officials attributed to obesity and tobacco use in the area, The Buffalo News reports.

KEY FOE OUSTED — The City reports: “The de Blasio administration booted a city jail oversight board member leading the charge to limit the use of solitary confinement — just days before the historic proposal was set to be introduced.”

VACCINATED? — More than 250 Buffalo Public School students are barred from classrooms because their vaccinations are not up to date, district officials told The Buffalo News. The number is down from 5,000 when the school year began last month.

EXPANDING — Syracuse.com reports: “Molina Healthcare, one of the nation’s biggest Medicaid managed care companies that came to Syracuse three years ago, is expanding across upstate New York.”

HOMICIDE CHARGES — The New York Law Journal reports: “The New York Court of Appeals on Thursday heard arguments on whether doctors can face state homicide charges if the drugs they prescribe are used by a patient during a fatal overdose on the medication.”

Pharma Report

ENDANGERED WOMEN’S HEALTH Shannon reports: Attorney General Tish James announced that New York will receive more than $5 million as part of a multi-state settlement with Johnson & Johnson for its deceptive marketing of transvaginal surgical mesh devices. Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Ethicon, Inc. will pay a total of $116.8 million to 41 states and the District of Columbia under the settlement.

ALL SETTLED? — Reuters reports: “Five drugmakers and distributors are offering $22 billion in cash as well as drugs and services they value at $28 billion to resolve lawsuits alleging the industry fueled the U.S. opioid crisis, two sources familiar with the matter said.”

SPEAKING FEES — The State reports: “Beyond the money they earn for treating patients in their care, top doctors in South Carolina have another lucrative income source. More than 30 S.C. doctors have received at least $500,000 from pharmaceutical companies and medical device makers in consulting and promotional speaking arrangements that are under scrutiny from medical ethics groups and researchers. According to federal data gathered by ProPublica, doctors across the Palmetto State have made $20.3 million from those companies since August 2013.”

What We’re Reading

SAVING TIME — Psychiatric medicine tests may be the way of the future, NPR reports.

FRUITY FALLOUT — CNBC reports: “Juul announced Thursday it is immediately suspending sales of it popular fruity e-cigarette flavors ahead of a Trump administration policy that is expected to remove all flavored e-cigarettes from the market.”

THE MILLENNIALS ARE NOT ALRIGHT — Bloomberg Tic Toc reports: “Medical debt is the number one dealbreaker for Americans trying to buy or rent a home, according to a new survey.”

RAISE THE AGE — Philadelphia proposed legislation to restrict the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, the Inquirer reports.

DON’T DO THAT — BuzzFeed News reports: “At least 25 Illinois Department of Corrections employees have taken part in online conversations that mocked, demeaned, or disclosed personal and medical information about transgender inmates — including calling transgender women ‘it’ and ‘he’ — in two private Facebook groups, an Injustice Watch review has found.”

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