Health Commissioner Concerned about Increase in E-Cigarette Use

Buffalo, NY - School districts around the country are banning electronic cigarettes, and now, a district in Western New York could go one step further.

Eden is considering allowing teachers and administrators to confiscate any e-cigarettes found at school.

The Erie County Commissioner of Health is concerned about kids being exposed to the vapors that come out of e-cigarettes.

"The number of youth who are smoking e-cigarettes is exploding," says Dr. Gale Burstein. "Also, it's being promoted to children almost as candy."

Dr. Burstein realizes many smokers are turning to electronic cigarettes to help them quit, but she says teens are also picking up the habit.

"The success that we've had in trying to make smoking a stigmatized behavior is losing ground now with the availability and promotion of e-cigarettes," she says.

Since they are not regulated by the FDA, and there have not been many studies done on their health impact, schools are taking action.

"I think many school districts want to ban e-cigarettes to ensure that everybody has to clean air to breathe during the school day," says Burstein.

Eden banned e-cigarettes last September and will vote next month on whether teachers and administrators should be allowed to confiscate them if a student is caught vaping.

"From a health standpoint, they're not healthy, and I think the risks outweigh the benefits. But it's something that a community has to decide themselves. We can't shove it down anybody's throat, but hopefully communities will make the right decision to keep their students and their staff healthy," says Burstein.

But Burstein says no matter what the regulations are at school, it's important to have conversations about e-cigarettes at home.

"Parents, talk to your kids about it. You are so influential and you can really have the biggest effect, a bigger effect than banning anything from the school," she says.

This spring, New York City banned the use of e-cigarettes anywhere you are already banned from smoking regular cigarettes. People can be fined up to one-hundred dollars for each violation.


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