Monica Bharel, realistic optimist

Monica Bharel, the state’s public health commissioner, is definitely a glass-half-full type of person.

On the Health or Consequences edition of the Codcast with Paul Hattis of Tufts University Medical School and John McDonough of Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Bharel went through a series of major challenges facing her agency and in each instance ended her discussion on an optimistic note.

On vaping, Bharel expressed confidence that her agency’s ban on all vaping products was the wise course to follow while health officials determine what is causing a strange new type of pulmonary disease. She said her other top priority with vaping products is getting them out of the hands of young people – she says 40 percent of high school students have vaped and 20 percent do so regularly. She says e-cigarettes are not safe, as many young people believe, and flavored e-cigs should be taken off the market.