NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Keeping children away from flavored e-cigarettes is the goal of a new campaign launched today at city hall.
Sixth-grader Yael Mintz may look small, but her voice is big, reports CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge.READ MORE: Man Slashed In Head Inside Times Square Subway Station
She’s adding to the growing chorus calling for a ban on menthol and flavored e-cigarettes.
“I want to keep Juul and other e-cigarettes away from me my friends and other kids our age,” she said. “The flavors are like ‘Oh, hey, it’s for kids it’s like candy for us. I’m not saying that vapes or Juul should be banned entirely, I just think that flavors are what’s really getting kids.”
Gummy bears and cotton candy are just some of the flavors advocates worry entice kids.
Local leaders joined with parents and medical professionals to launch the “Flavors Hook Kids” awareness campaign on the steps of City Hall.
“It’s just outrageous how many teenagers are doing the vaping,” said student Marisol Rivera.
“I would say 10th grade is not a year people start it’s a year people are already addicted trying to quit with a little success,” said 10th grader Caleb Mintz.
Studies show more than 80 percent of kids who use tobacco started with a flavored product.READ MORE: Caught On Camera: Innocent Children Caught In Middle Of Brazen Shooting In The Bronx
“This 19-year-old is an athlete very fit,” said cardiologist Dr. Icilma Ferguson. “He had an episode of vaping, his heart started race.”
She said says more teens than ever are ending up in her office
“This is the most serious adolescent public health crisis of the last 40, 50 years,” said Meredith Berkman, founder of Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes.
Right now, it’s illegal to cell e-cigarettes to anyone under 21, but local leaders say the restrictions needs to be even tighter
“There’s just too many ways for a young person to get access to vaping products, said council member Mark Levine. “We need to take the next step.”
Juul, the leading flavored e-cigarette maker, says its marketing is directed towards adult smokers only and its products aren’t intended for young people.MORE NEWS: 'I Hope This Is The Beginning Of Something': Hundreds Flock To Harlem For Juneteenth Block Party
These advocates won’t be satisfied until the city council votes to ban flavors altogether, but it will likely be several months before a city council vote is expected.