Kudos to Assemblyman Colin Schmitt and Washingtonville Mayor Joseph Bucco for co-chairing a recent Youth Anti-Vaping Panel at Washingtonville HS to address the exponential increase in youth e-cigarette use. The knowledgeable panelists helped start an important conversation with facts on the health impacts and resources available for parents and youth.
The use of electronic cigarettes and vaping has skyrocketed among youth, increasing 160% between 2014-2018. Perception that e-cigarettes are harmless, combined with the resurgence of Big Tobacco marketing tactics targeting youth with attractive flavored vaping products and high nicotine content, have contributed to this rapid and troubling increase in youth use. In 2018 the U.S. Surgeon General released an Advisory (the first ever on tobacco products) declaring e-cigarette use among youth an epidemic.
According the American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control 2019, the high school smoking rate (combustible cigarettes) in New York was recorded as 5.5%, a full point up from the historic low of 4.4% the year before. In addition, the high school tobacco use rate (all forms of tobacco and e-cigarettes) in New York is currently an astounding 19.3%. Our children were supposed to be the first generation to grow up without being addicted to nicotine products – but today 1 in 5 are using tobacco.
Thanks to both Assemblyman Schmitt and Mayor Bucco for a shining light on this important topic – and for educating Hudson Valley parents, students and the wider community on the realities of e-cigarettes.
Susan E. Lennon
American Lung Association/Center for a Tobacco-Free Hudson Valley