E-cigarettes must be strongly regulated

Recently, the American Heart Association released a policy statement reviewing the latest science on e-cigarettes. The scientific advisory panel concluded that e-cigarettes are under-evaluated, unregulated products with potentially undesirable health impacts that threaten to renormalize smoking.

Moreover, there is considerable concern about the predatory marketing of e-cigarettes or "vape pens" to youth, with sweet flavors such as gummy bear and cotton candy among more than 7,000 unique flavor options.

As a cardiologist, I have seen firsthand the devastating impact of smoking on individuals and communities. Additionally, as a father, I am an advocate for tobacco regulation, which should include e-cigarettes. I applaud Bay Area cities such as San Francisco, Fremont, Walnut Creek and, most recently, El Cerrito for being pioneers in passing comprehensive legislation that applies existing tobacco policies to e-cigarettes.

It is the duty of our local elected officials to protect our public health and limit e-cigarette use in existing smoke-free spaces. Frankly, state and federal government officials should follow suit.

Alden (Chip) McDonald, M.D.

American Heart Association board president-elect Oakland


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Stop blaming Israel and work for peace

I saw a photo of a sign held by a Kurdistan protester: "There is a Humanitarian Crisis in Kurdistan but Nobody Cares Because They Can't Blame Israel."

That's why we haven't seen action from the anti-Israel protesters who -- instead of marching and demanding a stop to the rapes and killings of Yazidis who refuse to convert to Islam, the expulsion of the Chaldo-Assyrian Christians from Mosul, and the savage slitting throats of captives -- were at the Oakland waterfront protesting a ship from Israel.

If these protesters were really pro-Palestinian and not primarily anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic, they would be striving to convince Palestinians to do what the Kurds in Turkey and Iraq have done: abandon the culture of hate and reject the zealotry of Islamic extremists including Hamas, and instead work on building solid state institutions and governance structures.

Instead of burrowing tunnels underground, launching terror attacks and firing rockets and mortars, Palestinians would use their resources to develop channels for commerce, trade and accommodation. By renouncing violence and choosing a pragmatic path, Palestinians could achieve their aims of opening the borders for joint economic development.

This is the only way forward for a lasting peace.

Arthur Liberman

Palo Alto