Youth Anti-Vaping Forum Held in Washingtonville
Assemblyman Colin Schmitt gathered a panel with Washingtonville Mayor Joseph Bucco and County Legislator Kathy Stegenga to hear testimony from Orange County Commissioner of Health Dr. Irina Gelman, Pediatric Pulmonologist Dr. Sankaran Krishnan, representatives from the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council, representatives from the American Lung Association, students and faculty from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, and School Law Enforcement about the increasing popularity of youth vaping, and its associated dangers.
Some general topics that were addressed at the public forum included the impact of vaping on lungs that are still developing, addictive properties of nicotine and THC products (vaping marijuana), and the progression of vaping that can eventually lead to more dangerous substances. There was lively discussion on what can be done to decrease usage among youth populations through legislative and community-based actions.
Mayor Bucco stated “I was proud to co-host and join Assemblyman Schmitt on a panel to hear testimony from advocates, healthcare professionals and others on youth anti-vaping. Youth vaping is a critical issue and it is so important that we start the conversation now to raise awareness to parents and students who may not be aware of the hidden dangers with these vape devices. This is the first step in the right direction to ensuring the safety of our children.” Legislator Kathy Stegenga stated, “I was happy to join with Assemblyman Schmitt and Mayor Bucco to sit on this panel discussing the critical concerns involving our young students vaping. We heard compelling testimony that will be the cornerstone of our efforts to deliver positive success oriented responses to this growing epidemic.”
Sankaran Krishnan, MD, MPH, Pediatric Pulmonologist, Boston Children’s Health Physicians stated, I thank Assemblyman Schmidt for taking the lead on this growing, serious problem amongst youth which is fast approaching epidemic proportions. E-cigarette use has exploded over the past 5 to 7 years, especially in the vulnerable 11 to 18 years age group. Aggressive marketing including use of flavored products, youth-resonant themes such as rebellion, glamour and sex, celebrity endorsements and the “cool” factor have significantly contributed to this upswing. E-cigs, including products like Juul, often contain significant amounts of nicotine, in some cases exceeding those contained in traditional cigarettes. In fact, since these are perceived as “accepted”, there are often higher doses of nicotine that may be inhaled, with all the attendant medical risks posed by traditional cigarette smoking E-cigs also contain other products including propylene, glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavoring agents (there are over 7,700 flavors reported!) and other chemicals that are known to decrease lung function, increase risk of respiratory exacerbations in those with lung diseases and may be carcinogenic.