Mayoral hopefuls weigh in on flavored nicotine products – Politico

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Quick Fix

— City Council Speaker Corey Johnson is the only prominent mayoral hopeful who hasn’t endorsed a citywide ban on flavored nicotine products. Although he supports banning flavored e-cigarettes, Johnson does not have a firm position on menthol cigarettes. Borough Presidents Ruben Diaz Jr. (D-Bronx) and Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn) sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Johnson back in May calling for the bans, and City Comptroller Scott Stringer came out in support of the bans as well.

— The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been pursuing a criminal investigation since Americans have been reported respiratory illnesses linked to vaping. The number of cases has jumped to 530, along with seven deaths, across 38 states and one territory.

— A controversy over chocolate milk is spilling into schools.

Policy and Politics

MAYORAL HOPEFULS DISCUSS FLAVORED NICOTINE — POLITICO’s Amanda Eisenberg: Three of the four prominent New York City mayoral hopefuls are supportive of banning all flavored nicotine products amid a national and local push to stop the growing use of e-cigarettes among teenagers, with only Council Speaker Corey Johnson standing apart.

— Political leaders from President Donald Trump to Gov. Andrew Cuomo have waded into the vape debate in recent weeks. In New York City, the fight over flavored tobacco and e-cigarettes has been smoldering for months. But over the past two weeks it’s become a hot-button political issue and one that has divided city leaders.

VAPING ILLNESSES JUMP — POLITICO’s Brianna Ehley: The number of vaping-related illnesses has climbed to 530 and seven deaths across 38 states and one territory as federal and state health officials continue searching for the cause of the outbreak, the CDC said. The tally jumped dramatically from last week, when the agency reported 380 cases in 36 states and the Virgin Islands — a 40 percent increase. CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat told reporters she is “very concerned” and officials are “working around the clock” to pinpoint what is making people sick. According to the CDC, the majority of cases involve men and more than half are patients under 25 years old.

GOT MILK — POLITICO’s Nick Niezwiadek: A proposal to remove chocolate milk from school lunchrooms in New York City has opened a new front in the battle over nutritional standards. Many child health advocates have been advocating for such a move for years, even before New York City stopped serving whole milk in schools in 2006 under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But several members of the state’s House delegation, most of whom represent dairy-producing areas, strongly oppose such a move.

… The conflict pits nutritionists who want New York City to follow the example of other large municipalities that have banned flavored milk against the state’s struggling dairy industry. Hundreds of dairy farms have already gone out of business in recent years amid sagging milk prices. Recent trade disputes with Canada have also hurt them.

Odds and Ends

AMANDA IN ROCKLAND — Amanda will be home in Bergen County for the Jewish High Holidays on Sept. 30 and wants to grab a cup of coffee with you if you live or work in Rockland County. Email her to set up a time.

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NOW WE KNOW — A baby or a pregnant woman dies every 11 seconds across the globe, according to United Nations data.

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STUDY THIS — Puerto Rican teens in the south Bronx are more likely to experience anxiety and depression than youth in Puerto Rico, according to a study published in World Psychiatry. The researchers found that the experience of being a minority group increased the risk for mental health problems.

Around New York

VISION ZERO — The New York Post reports: “The FDNY’s response times to blazes and other emergencies are rising dramatically — and the city’s firefighters union says Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ‘Vision Zero’ initiative, aimed at reducing traffic deaths, is a big reason why. The Uniformed Firefighters Association is accusing the de Blasio administration of putting New Yorkers at risk by relentlessly saturating city streets with road barriers to help slow down traffic.

NOT AGAIN — The city health department warned that people who rode the Long Island Rail Road between Sept. 11 and Sept. 14 may have been exposed to measles, NBC reports.

— Patch reports: “Nassau County health officials confirmed a second case of measles in an adult in the county, and warned people that they may have been exposed. Officials said that the person may be associated with another confirmed case of measles in the county. They did not identify the person or where they live, but they traveled around the Mineola area.

HOW SAFE IS IT — Syracuse.com reports: “An attorney for a Syracuse doctor fighting a $2 million malpractice verdict says his client was unfairly portrayed during his trial as a greedy surgeon who rushes through 14 operations a day to make more money.”

Pharma Report

NOT OUR FAULT — Novartis said its gene therapy Zolgensma was not responsible for the death of a 6-month-old patient in a European trial, Reuters reports.

CBD STUDY — The Associated Press reports: “The U.S. government will spend $3 million to find out if marijuana can relieve pain, but none of the money will be used to study the part of the plant that gets people high. Nine research grants announced Thursday are for work on CBD, the trendy ingredient showing up in cosmetics and foods, and hundreds of less familiar chemicals. THC research was excluded.”

What We’re Reading

IT’S GETTING WORSE — There are now 530 cases of vaping-related illnesses, according to federal officials. Reuters reports that no single product or substance has been linked to the outbreak.

DEEP POCKET PUSH — Kaiser Health News reports: “As proposals to ban surprise medical bills move through Congress and state legislatures with rare bipartisan support, physician groups have emerged as the loudest opponents. Often led by doctors with the veneer of noble concern for patients, physician-staffing firms — third-party companies that employ doctors and assign them out to health care facilities — have opposed efforts to limit the practice known as balance billing. They claim such bans would rob doctors of their leverage in negotiating, drive down their payments and push them out of insurance networks.”

NEW RULES — Weeks ahead of the Oct. 22 season opening, the NBA adopted new rules requiring teams to add at least one full-time licensed mental health professional to their full-time staff, CNBC reports.

UNINFORMED KIN — The Miami Herald reports: “Family members of state inmates say that the Florida Department of Corrections doesn’t always contact them when their loved ones are injured and hospitalized — even if the injuries are the result of a beating by staff.”

DUDE, JUST DRINK A GATORADE — Cameron Fischer’s bachelor party in Fort Collins, Colorado left him hung over and dried out; so much so he went to the ER to rehydrate with an IV. The bill? More than $12,000, according to Kaiser Health News.

OUT OF OFFICE — Rep. Elijah Cummings missed a high-profile hearing due to a medical procedure, the Baltimore Sun reports.

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