Opinion: Ban Sale of Most E-Cigarettes, Flavored Nicotine

I am a pediatrician and I work, reside and am a parent in Suffolk County. On behalf of my patients and my children, I urge the Suffolk County Legislature to pass the proposed bill that will ban the sale of most flavored e-cigs and flavored nicotine in our county.

E-cigarette use is one of the leading public health issues affecting teens today with a 75% increase in use among teens in the last year alone . E-cigarette and liquid nicotine use is rampant here in Suffolk County. Kids are vaping in school hallways, classrooms and bathrooms and are sharing devices with friends. It is odorless and smokeless and and the vaping devices resemble pens, usb drives and battery chargers making their use easily concealed.

This issue is of huge concern to parents who are worried about their children. Most of the teens simply do not know the potential harm they are causing themselves and the potential addiction they are putting themselves at risk for . 65% of teens who vape are not even aware that the products contain nicotine. Therefore, it is our responsibility to protect them.

Clearly the fruity and dessert flavored products with colorful packaging are meant to target youth and we know that kids who start vaping are more likely to try cigarettes. We know that the nicotine in all these products is not safe , is addictive, can harm the developing brain and is associated with addiction to other drugs. In addition the chemicals in the vapor can cause irreversible lung damage and contains potential carcinogens and heavy metals . According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the flavors , design and marketing of the nicotine products appeal to youth and normalize and glamorize nicotine product use . E-cigs and liquid nicotine are addicting a new generation of youth to nicotine and are reversing more than fifty years of progress in tobacco control.

As far as I’m concerned, with youth being the primary target of these flavored products, their sale should be completely banned from the market. We have the ability to do that here in Suffolk County with the proposed legislation. We have a responsibility to do everything in our power to make it as difficult as possible for youth to get their hands on these products.

I can say with absolute certainty that pediatricians and parents throughout Suffolk County would welcome and be extremely grateful if this bill was passed and I urge the legislature to do so.

Dr. Krief is a pediatrician in Huntington.

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