Just when you think you’ve heard everything, news comes out of New York that a certain democratic member of city council wants to make vaping and walking on sidewalks illegal. The actual bill is currently geared towards making smoking illegal, but one can safely assume that vaping will also be thrown into the mix should the proposed legislation gain traction.
The elected official’s name is Councilman Peter Koo, and he was elected in 2009. What many vaping advocates might find rather interesting is that before he was a politician, Koo was the CEO of the Starside Pharmacy chain located in Flushing, Queens.
Big Pharma’s distaste for the vaping industry is well-documented. As vaping continues to grow in popularity, sales of the more conventional nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) like nicotine gums and patches has steadily dwindled. It just so happens that Big Pharma owns the patents on these NRTs.
Many conspiracy theorists even allege that the major pharmaceutical companies were secretly behind the government’s implementation of the FDA deeming regulations that threaten to wipe out the American vaping industry by 2022. Big Pharma has ties to the FDA’s Mitch Zeller, who created the new deeming rules and previously worked as a paid consultant for the GlaxoSmithKline. And Jack Henningfield, who is a member of the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, is the co-owner of a patent on a new nicotine gum product.
Is the Peter Koo connection to Starside Pharmacies a mere coincidence?
Now, there is no evidence (that we know of) that Peter Koo is taking advantage of his political power to further benefit the pharmaceutical industry. According to an interview with Fox5NY news, the reason that Koo wants to pass the no-smoking-and-walking regulation is because he simply hates walking behind smokers.
"My bill is very simple, no smoking and walking on New York City Sidewalks...This bill is not against smoking just don't do both together. "
Koo may have an ace up his sleeve that might help him get his controversial bill passed. Senator Minority Leader and fellow Democrat Chuck Schumer is also from New York and is notoriously anti-vaping. Last December, Schumer called electronic cigarettes “ticking timebomb” due to claims that their batteries having a propensity for explosions.