City Council Speaker Corey Johnson might have to lace up his running shoes to quit vaping.
Johnson told The Post the only time he ever managed to stop his pack-a-day smoking habit was in 2010 when he was training for the New York City Marathon.
“I realized I wasn’t actually going to be able to meet that goal unless I quit smoking, so I was running like 30 to 40 miles a week, and that’s what kept me off cigarettes for a year,” he said in an interview about his personal nicotine use just days after passing the nation’s largest ban against flavored e-cigarettes.
“I would love to run the marathon again, and I have to start exercising again. That could be something that I may explore but I don’t want to commit this early,” chuckled Johnson, who finished the 26.2-mile race in 4 hours and 3 minutes.
The 37-year-old pol admitted he uses nearly an entire mint-flavored Juul pod a day — equivalent to just under a pack of smokes.
Johnson is giving himself until the city’s ban goes into effect in July to get nicotine-free.
He started smoking Parliament 100s when he got sober in 2009 and first attempted to quit a year later.
“I tried Chantix, I tried the patch, I tried hypnosis, I tried acupuncture, I tried a lot of things,” he recalled.
“What kept me off of cigarettes for a year was my marathon training and then afterward feeling good. And then I fell off the wagon and starting smoking again and smoked until May of this year,” he said.
That’s when he switched to using a Juul. He tried the tobacco and Virginia tobacco styles before settling on mint — which will be among the verboten flavors come July.
He said the explosion of teen usage — a 135-percent increase over the past two years — is what made him put aside his personal feelings that vaping can help people cigarette addicts stop smoking.
“Even though I use vaping to quit smoking, actually, at this point, it’s unclear if this is safer than cigarettes,” he said.
Nearly 50 Americans, including two New Yorkers, have died from vaping-related lung injuries.
Johnson, who lost his smoker stepdad to cancer at 57, said he’s concerned about his own health.
“I’m still, nicotine-wise, taking in a tremendous amount of nicotine every day, and I’m not proud of that,” he said.
Meredith Berkman, co-founder of Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes, said, “We applaud the speaker for understanding why this is so important.”
But, she added, “We hope the speaker will do the right thing when it comes to menthol cigarettes.”
Johnson refused to bring a similar proposed ban against mentholated tobacco to a vote after Rev. Al Sharpton opposed it.
Councilman Mark Levine (D-Manhattan), who sponsored the anti-vaping bill, applauded Johnson’s efforts.
“He deserves a lot of credit for speaking openly about his plan to quit. But adults shouldn’t kid themselves about the long-term effects of vaping,” he said.
Councilman Kalman Yeger (D-Brooklyn) was just one of two city leaders to vote against the ban. The other was Staten Island Republican Steven Matteo.
“I’m not in a position to comment on Corey’s habit,” Yeger told The Post.
“What I said on the floor was that we have practically legalized the possession and use of marijuana — you walk down the street you see people smoking marijuana, you smell it all over the place. I think the idea that this particular product that we’re going to ban when we moved in the opposite direction with drugs seems completely hypocritical to me.”
Source: Read Full Article