April Fuul’s Day!

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April Fuul’s Day

White Plains, N.Y. (April 1, 2019) – On Monday April 1, youth from Westchester rallied to educate on Big Tobacco’s latest joke; April “Fuuls” Day. As a part of National Public Health Week, the rally was held on the steps of the Westchester County Center where “Fuuls Candy Shop” a faux pop-up storefront was closed for business. The visual is a metaphor for shutting the door on the popular youth product, Juul who uses bright colors, and flavors to entice another generation of nicotine dependent youth. At the event over 60 people in attendance including Loretta Santilli, Director of Public Health Practice, Maureen Kenney, Director for POW’R Against Tobacco, Leilani Lockett, Health System Change Grantee, Jack Waxman, Students Against Nicotine and more including the Westchester County Department of Health and students from various schools including Rye High School, New Rochelle High School and Blind Brook High School.

 

Earlier this year the Surgeon General declared youth usage of e-cigarettes an “epidemic.” Here in NYS e-cigarette usage mirrors the epidemic, “From 2014-2018 youth usage of e-cigarettes have increased 160% based on a recent Stat-Shot from the NYS Department of Health. Additionally, this is the first year since 2000 we have seen an increase in combustible cigarette rates amongst youth.” said Carissa Mazzeo the Reality Check Manager for POW’R Against Tobacco a program of the American Lung Association. “It is no surprise that Juul, a company backed by Big Tobacco is using decades old tactics such as bright ads, and youth flavoring to recruit replacement smokers.”

 

Jack Waxman, founder of Youth Decide, called upon elected officials to enact a ban on all flavored products. “We know that many young people start vaping because of the attractive flavorings like mango and mint. The flavors lure kids in, the nicotine gets the hooked and the addiction keeps them buying the products,” said Waxman. “You can’t buy ‘Chocolate Decadence’ cigarettes which are more attractive to teens. That same standard should apply to e-cigarettes.”

 

Youth are being fooled into thinking that vaping is safe and risk-free because of all the advanced marketing, colorful packaging and enticing flavors. But vaping, which has reached epidemic proportions among youth has potential serious health risks including asthma, bronchitis, and other issues stemming from nicotine addiction and because the research is just the beginning the inhalation of carcinogens is still being evaluated.

 

In front of “Fuul’s Candy Shop” teen after teen took to the microphone to urge responsible adults in leadership positions to create a world that keeps youth safe, healthy and drug-free.

 

“Flavors in Juuls and any e-cigarettes, are a direct attack on teens,” said Grace Myron a senior from New Rochelle. “Fruity flavors have attracted so many teens to the point that the use of e-cigarettes increased to 20.8% of teens using its products in 2018. By these fruity flavors, my peers don’t understand what they are doing to their bodies and their future health. Together we need to end this epidemic.”

 

“I’ve noticed that many teens nowadays have this idea that Juuls are cool, safe alternative to smoking tobacco. What they fail to understand is that vaping can be just as addictive as combustible cigarettes. While you may not be inhaling it with a rolled cigarette, you are still putting dangerous levels of nicotine inside your body,” said Quincy Campell, also a senior from New Rochelle.

 

“On this April Fuul’s Day, we bring awareness to the continues need for action to prevent teens from Juuling. We must demand regulatory and educational measures to stop teens from becoming addicted to a product that will negatively affect their health for the rest of their lives.” said Abe Baker-Butler, a junior from Rye Brook and a co-founder of Youth Decide.

 

“So many young people are trying to make health decisions, but we rely on the support of adults. Vape products are the perfect storm of an attractive product, enticing flavors, easy access, and an addictive substance. How do you stand a chance?” asked Brian Garcia Hernandez.

 

As of today, NYS passed the Governor’s proposals related to tobacco prevention and control. Any retailers selling e-liquid will now have to register with NYS Department of Tax and Finance, with a $300 annual registration fee. The registration requirement affords ATUPA enforcement to be applied to these newly registered retailers, working to prevent sales to underage purchasers. Additionally, there will be a 20% sales tax on the retail price of e-liquid or any product containing e-liquids. These are both positive steps forward in our comprehensive statewide efforts to protect the health of New Yorkers.