Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Letters: E-cigarette use putting teens' health at risk

E-cigarettes not safe for teenagers

As chairman of the Hernando County Community Anti-Drug Coalition, I keep up-to-date on emerging drug and alcohol trends in the community. The use of e-cigarettes and hookah pens in the school setting has been an issue of concern among school resource officers, teachers, and students. Electronic cigarettes are virtually odorless form of nicotine delivery, can look like a writing pen, can easily fit into pockets, all of which makes detecting use at school problematic. Compounding this problem, is the use of concentrated THC — called dabs because it usually comes in oil or wax and it takes a small amount — and other illicit drugs being consumed through these devices.

Electronic cigarettes (also known as e-cigarettes, vapors, vaporizers, pens, hookah pens or nicotine vaporizers) are battery-operated devices that heat a liquid vapor allowing users to inhale nicotine from a noncombustible product. Last week, the Food and Drug Administration moved to control a new, higher tech smoking risk and proposed a sweeping set of rules to crack down on electronic cigarettes. The FDA rules would focus on two areas: children and public awareness. The FDA wants to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18. E-cigarette manufacturers would be required to divulge the ingredients in their products and stop handing out free samples. That will help researchers and potential smokers to better understand the risks to health.

There is mounting evidence that electronic cigarettes pose significant health risks. Under the new rules, e-cigarettes would carry a warning label, just as regular cigarettes do. And the state Legislature passed a bill banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

E-cigarettes have become a multibillion-dollar industry, turning up in convenience stores and smoke shops across the county, where they are marketed as a safe alternative to cigarettes. Alarmingly, however, school officials, health professionals and law enforcement personnel discovered they are also used as a convenient way to consume prescription, harmful and/or illicit drugs. Because e-cigarettes and pens release a vapor rather than traditional smoke, they do not release a noticeable aroma as traditional marijuana or hash cigarettes do.

The antidrug coalition and Tobacco Free Hernando is concerned about the rapid increase in e-cigarette/pens use among teens. The National Youth Tobacco Survey found last year that 1 in 10 high schoolers had tried it, double the number from 2012. The alarming increase in e-cigarette use, accessibility (there is not currently an age requirement to buy e-cigarettes) and acceptability has the potential to normalize smoking again and can have deadly results. For more information, see www.hernandoantidrug.org or call 352-596-8000.

Janice Smith, Spring Hill

Trade zone don't face regulations

The Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport is poised to grow. On the surface, these plans may seem like positive things for one of the most economically depressed counties in Florida. But, big planes flying low over our once peaceful homes is not a good thing by any means.

More alarming is the newest initiative exploring how to become a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ). For this to happen, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility must be present.

An FTZ is an area whereby goods may be landed, manufactured, reconfigured, and re-exported without the intervention of the customs authorities. Operations may be set up under the influence of other governments.

Only when the goods are moved to consumers within the country in which the zone is located do the goods become subject to the prevailing custom tariffs and inspections. While corporations setting up a zone may be given tax breaks as an incentive, FTZs give foreign corporations more economic liberty than is given indigenous employers which face large and often insurmountable regulatory hurdles.

Susan Ayers, Brooksville


Wednesday’s letters: Proposal would restore Florida Forever funding

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Updated: 4 hours ago

Tuesday’s letters: Writer should look to his own mistakes

Is anyone ever wrong anymore? | Dec. 8Writer should look to own errorsIn Mitch Daniels’ article about people who have been wrong, he finishes with the statement that our lives would be greatly improved with more people saying, "I was wrong."He mi...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t drill in Arctic refuge

Arctic National Wildlife RefugeStop plan to drill for oil in refugeOur nation faces yet another effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in the Arctic simply doesn’t make sound financial sense. W...
Published: 12/08/17

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill puts U.S. on right course

The GOP’s regressive tax plans | Dec. 5, editorialTax bill puts U.S. on right courseThe Times is already crying wolf over the new tax cuts, claiming that the new laws "could" result an increase in the national debt of $1.5 trillion over the next ...
Published: 12/07/17

Saturday’s letters: Don’t inject political money into churches

Tax billKeep political cash out of pulpitA provision buried in the 429-page House tax bill, Section 5201, nullifies the Johnson Amendment, which protects houses of worship from partisan politics by prohibiting them from endorsing or opposing politica...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Friday’s letters: Most unpopular tax bill ever

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3The most unpopular tax bill ever"Democracy dies in darkness" is the motto of the Washington Post. At 2 a.m. on the dark morning of Sunday, Dec. 3, 51 Republicans approved the most wildly unpopular tax bill in U.S. h...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Thursday’s letters: Give your child the gift of reading

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Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17

Wednesday’s letters: Bill gives small businesses tax relief

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3Small businesses get tax reliefThe Senate and House have now passed their respective tax bills. Once Congress sends a final package to the White House, President Donald Trump will deliver us the most powerful tax re...
Published: 12/04/17
Updated: 12/05/17

Tuesday’s letters: Transplant bill will help Medicare patients

November Letter of the MonthThe winning letter addressed the unresponsiveness of elected officials.Representatives aren’t listeningFor whom do our legislators work? I ask because my Florida senator doesn’t appear to work for me. I drove 27 miles on N...
Published: 12/04/17

Monday’s letters: A citizen’s heroic act

Suspect arrested | Nov. 29A courageous citizen’s actOn Nov. 28, a courageous act occurred in the Tampa Bay area. It was one that law enforcement professionals applaud and hope becomes more frequent. An ordinary citizen did the right thing and spo...
Published: 12/01/17