School Officials Spread Fear To Close Down ‘Horrifying’ Vape Shop

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

School officials are warning children and parents about the alleged threat a vape shop poses to youth in New York, citing dated information to spread fear in the community.

A non-smoking advocacy group hosted a discussion at Pleasantville High School to spread awareness about vaping in their community. The Pleasantville School Board convened an emergency meeting during its summer recess in July to discuss a new vape shop called The Glass Room, which opened two weeks ago near the high school, The Examiner News reported Tuesday.

During the Wednesday discussion, experts cited old data showing a large jump in teen vaping between 2011, when the products first emerged in the market, and 2015. They also attacked flavored products, which smokers argue are key to helping them quit, and said the products risk addicting a new generation to tobacco.

“It is really horrifying what is out there in plain view of our kids and what’s easily accessible to our kids,” Maureen Kenney, director of POW’R Against Tobacco, said at the meeting, according to The Examiner News. “The tobacco industry has made it more convenient for people to pick up a product that kills more than half of its users than it is to go get a coffee.”

Kenney’s statements appear to treat cigarettes and vaping products as the same, despite the fact e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco. While nicotine carries risks, it is not the primary cause of death for people who smoke; rather, it’s the added carcinogens inhaled through combustion. Furthermore, the youth smoking rate continues to fall to record lows and vaping rates are in decline.

Democratic officials in New York are generally up in arms over the growing mainstream popularity of vaping, pushing alarmist talking points on the alleged threat the devices pose to teens and children. Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey hosted a roundtable discussion for residents in Westchester and Rockland counties Aug. 2 in response to the imminent opening of The Glass Room in Pleasantville, where she argued that, “there is really an epidemic level of e-cigarettes being used in the community.”

A survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released June 15 revealed that after a rapid increase in youth vaping between 2011 and 2015, teens are now giving up the habit. The number of middle school and high school students who use a vaping device dropped from 3 million to 2.2 million in 2016.

A study from the University of California released July 26 showed that a record number of Americans are ditching cigarettes with the aid of vaping devices.

Researchers found that the rate of Americans quitting smoking jumped from 4.5 percent between 2010 and 2011 to 5.6 percent between 2014 and 2015. That means that roughly 350,000 smokers gave up the habit between 2014 and 2015, which the researchers largely attribute to the rising popularity of vaping.

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