Yesterday, Senator Kemp Hannon, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Health, introduced legislation to combat the ever-increasing use of electronic cigarettes among minors. This legislation (S8609) and (S8610) will curb use among minors through prevention and education, establish sale to minor compliance checks, and eliminate enticing flavors that lure young people.
Senator Hannon stated, “Use of electronic cigarettes among minors has risen exponentially and is unacceptable. Something must be done to stave off the temptation so that we can reduce the number of people who become addicted to nicotine and become regular tobacco users. Eliminating the availability of flavored e-liquids like cotton candy and bubble gum intentionally marketed to attract minors, in addition to expanding current state efforts on prevention and education, and addressing the loophole in enforcement will do just this. Requiring retailers to register as electronic cigarette sellers will ensure that they are adhering to the law and not selling to minors.”
The CDC reported use of electronic cigarettes among middle school and high school students more than doubled from 2011 to 2012. New York State lead the way in 2012 by banning the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors under the age of 18. However, according to recent reports by the FDA, electronic cigarette use among minors is still on the rise. A recent study found that 19 percent of 12th graders, 16 percent of 10th graders and 8 percent of 8th graders have in fact used an electronic cigarette in the past year. Schools across the country continue to report their struggle with the number of “Juuls” being used by students. The FDA has sought to combat this issue through undercover sting operations targeting retailers of the new trendy “Juul” devices.
Senator Hannon stated, “It is imperative that action be taken not only at the federal level, but at the state and local level as well. New York must remain a leader in curbing use of electronic cigarettes by minors. We must ensure our current laws are being adhered to and more is done to protect minors from what could lead to a lifelong addiction. Discouraging use and availability of cigarettes to minors is crucial.”
Town of Hempstead Councilman Dennis Dunne stated, “I, the Hempstead Town Board and a coalition of community organizations have been working diligently to fight the scourge of e-cigarette use, particularly among children. We are very fortunate to have a partner like Senator Kemp Hannon to assist us on the State level. The surge of the legal prescription and illegal drugs has been destroying local families, as well as negatively impacting the town, the state and our country. I am grateful that our New York State Senate is helping us to fight this battle for our children and grandchildren. E-cigarette use and vaping is a gateway into the horrors of drugs. Whether it be opioids, fentanyl, heroin or prescription drugs, we need to have a unified front in fighting this problem. Our local community organizations have joined with us in the Town to form a coalition to try to loosen the restrictions that exist in the state, these pieces of legislation will go a long way to help us reach that goal. I thank Senator Kemp Hannon for carrying our banner, taking off some of the restrictions so we can fight a fair fight in an attempt to stop the destruction of so many in our community. Thank you Kemp Hannon, the New York State Senate and all that have come to your assistance to help us get this legislation passed.”
This legislation is currently in the Health Committee.