FLORAL PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — According to newly released federal statistics, vaping by high school students is up a staggering 75 percent this year, jeopardizing extraordinary public health gains in reducing smoking.
Now, schools across our area are scrambling to address the epidemic, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Wednesday.
More than 10 million middle and high schoolers across the country are now vaping or open to trying e-cigarettes.
“We have watched the potency that is being marketed to kids continue to increase and the manufacturers and retailers have become so much more aggressive,” said Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds of the Family and Children’s Association.
The Food and Drug Administration is launching a first-of-its-kind public service campaign against youth vaping, featuring posters that will appear in thousands of school bathrooms.
“It’s actually very popular. When we walk into the bathroom, sometimes they hide them in the ceilings,” one student told CBS2’s McLogan.
McLogan spoke to a group of seventh graders and their parents in Floral Park, where trustees just voted to allow vape shops and hookah bars in the village, but only after vetting and in a designated commercial section that would include Garfield, Van Seclen, Van Buren avenues.
“Go find someplace else to do it. We don’t want it in our town,” resident John Gayron said.
But the village cannot deny a business its right to open just because it intends to sell vaping products.
“As long as they are willing to follow the rules and regulations, because you don’t want them selling to minors,” resident Theresa Sierra said.
Vaping was conceived as a way to help adult smokers quit by providing a nicotine fix without the carcinogenic properties of smoking, but it created an unintended consequence. Fruit and kid-friendly flavors and stylish e-cigarette designs are drawing young people to vaping.
“Now, as we’ve heard, marijuana is being used in these devices to vape,” Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken said. “So, this is getting out of control.”
Hundreds of schools across Long Island are asking for help.
“It is the number one request that we get from schools, for us to come in with our officers and address vaping with the students,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said.
“Educating them, providing them with resistance skills, having them understand … beginning in kindergarten,” Suffolk health educator Nancy Hemendinger said.
The FDA has given the five largest e-cigarette makers 60 days to produce plans to prevent underage use, CBS2’s McLogan reported.
Vape retailers could face a possible ban on flavored e-liquid if the FDA isn’t satisfied with the plan to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of children.