U.S. Senator visits Little Falls Middle School

On Thursday, October 3, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer came to Little Falls, NY Middle School in Herkimer County. He came to make a 2-part announcement. One to get the FDA and Surgeon General to restrict flavors and vape products and the other to push for more national awareness and education on the issues of vaping with our youth.

Youth engagement coordinator for Herkimer County Reality Check was asked to present on the data around the products. Reality Check student Tanner Jaquay gave an emotional speech about the effects of these products and their marketing to youth; which includes his little sister. School superintendents and Chief Medical Officer for Bassett Healthcare were also brought in to speak on the issues they see with youth and vaping.

Here is some of the data that was presented.

  • Youth in NYS are using e-cigarettes at high rates that are increasing.

  • Between 2014 and 2018, the rate of current e-cigarette use among NY high school youth increased 160%, from 10.5% to 27.4%, while adult use of e-cigarettes in NY is low – just over 4%.

  • E-cigarettes are the most commonly use tobacco product among youth, surpassing cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and hookah. This is an unprecedented spike in substance use among youth. Based on the data available, regarding youth substance use (including tobacco), there has never before been such a dramatic increase, in such a short amount of time, of any substance use among youth.

  • 96.1% of 12- to 17-year olds who had initiated e-cigarette or vape use started with a flavored product.

  • Studies confirm menthol flavoring in e-liquids is harmful to your health.

  • Youth who use e-cigarettes and vape are at increased risk for starting to smoke, and continuing to smoke, combustible cigarettes.

  • The tobacco industry is manipulating the retail environment in ways that entice youth to start using these tobacco products.

  • Here in Herkimer County 44% of students have reported using or trying vape products. 33% have tried flavored vape and tobacco products.

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