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GO Health warns that vaping is not a good replacement for smoking

By Press Release

Press Release:

Have you ever wondered how an item that is not good for our health becomes popular? One way is vendors that produce them use clever marketing tactics to make people think they are safe, popular, good for you, and a status symbol.

E-cigarettes or vapes are these types of items. Although there are some regulations in the sale of e-cigarette/vape items, they are currently limited. In the United States, the legal age to purchase any nicotine-containing product, including e-cigarettes is 21. New York State has also banned flavored nicotine vape products to address the use of e-cigarettes among youth.

“According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), e-cigarettes/vapes are not approved as an aid to quit smoking,” stated Paul Pettit, Director of Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). “There is limited evidence that using a vaping device will help smokers quit, mostly because the individuals continue to smoke or use nicotine replacement while vaping, which increases the nicotine levels. Other FDA-approved prescription and over-the-counter medications are safe and effective to help people quit nicotine use. The best way to reduce the risk of nicotine-related illnesses and cancer is to never start using nicotine products of any kind.”

Companies that market e-cigarettes and vaping devices use marketing tools such as:

  • ‘fun’ flavors
  • deep discounts
  • marketing materials that are ‘youth-oriented’ and located where young people go
  • brightly colored ads or bright storefronts
  • using celebrities who use e-cigarettes
  • use popular packaging that is attractive to youth such as flash/USB drives, favorite characters, hidden in hoodie strings, highlighters, o backpacks, phone cases, pens, or smartwatches.

Parents and caregivers are encouraged to have honest conversations with youth about the issues and risks around vaping. Awareness of what is out there will take the glamor out of the product when talking with youth.

Tips on Quitting

  • Pick a day on a calendar when you plan on quitting, let friends or family know. 
  • Download an app that helps you track your sober days, build new healthier habits, and provide motivation– visit SmokeFree.gov for free apps to download.
  • Get rid of all vaping devices. 
  • Understand what the withdrawal symptoms are such as headaches, hunger, trouble sleeping, and concentrating are just a few.
  • Feeling the urge to vape? Try these instead: Chewing gum or drinking water, exercise, yoga or meditation, keeping your hands busy.

The sooner one quits, the quicker the body rebounds and repairs itself. For more help or information, contact your healthcare provider. You can also text, chat, or call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487).

For more information on GO Health programs and services, visit GOHealthNY.org or call your respective health department at: 

  • Genesee County: 585-344-2580 ext. 5555
  • Orleans County: 585-589-3278

Follow GO Health on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at GOHealthNY.

Want to talk to youth about vaping? GO Health offers tips

By Press Release

Press Release:

Replacing the popularity of traditional cigarettes, the e-cigarette was introduced to the market around 2007. Typically branded as a safer alternative to traditional cigarette smoking, e-cigarettes work by using a battery to heat up liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and other additives and chemicals. Various flavors and scents have been used as a marketing technique to increase the appeal of e-cigarette smoking to young people.

According to the 2021 CLYDE Survey administered to 7th, 9th, and 11th grade students in Genesee and Orleans Counties by UConnectCare (formally GCASA):

  • 3% of 7th grade students reported vaping with nicotine in the past 30 days
  • 19.7% of 11th grade students reported vaping with nicotine in the past 30 days
  • 11.1% of 11th grade students reported vaping with marijuana in the past 30 days

There are many reasons that teens and young adults vape, including peer pressure and wanting to fit in with their friends. However, no tobacco product is safe, especially for adolescents. Many teens believe that vaping is less harmful than smoking and find the lack of smoke and smell, appealing. Young people who believe that e-cigarettes cause no harm are more likely to use them. It is important for parents and educators to work together to teach adolescents about the health risks associated with e-cigarettes.

How can you talk to youth about vaping? Here are some tips: 

  • Make sure you are aware of the facts first, before you talk with youth about vaping. To learn more about vaping, visit the CDC Website or the Surgeon General Website
  • Consider what they are going through and put yourself in their shoes. Think about what pressures they face at school, at home, and with their friends. Encourage an open dialogue and have empathy throughout the conversation.
  • Set a positive example by staying tobacco-free. If you use tobacco, it is never too late to quit. For more help or information on quitting, contact your healthcare provider. You can also text, chat or call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or visit the New York State Department of Health website.
  • Wait for the right moment to start the conversation and try to have a more natural conversation, rather than a lecture.
  • Avoid scare tactics and connect with what youth care about. 
  • If you have questions or need support, talk with your healthcare provider.
  • After you talk, let them know that you appreciate them for taking the time to listen and for being honest with you.
  • Continue to follow-up and keep the lines of communication open. New vaping products such as vaping hoodies and vaping flash drives are introduced to youth on a regular basis. Continue to do your research and stay up to date on any new information related to vaping. 

For more information on GO Health programs and services, visit GOHealthNY.org or call your respective health department at:

  • Genesee County: 585-344-2580 ext. 5555
  • Orleans County: 585-589-3278

Follow GO Health on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at GOHealthNY.

GO Health addresses vaping issues

By Press Release

Press Release:

What is a Vape?

Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigarettes), better known as vapes, have become a widely used product for teens and young adults. Vaping is the action of inhaling vapor created by an E-Cigarette device. The devices can look like flash drives and come in many different flavors, sizes, and brands. The vape device works by heating an oily liquid until it becomes vapor. The liquid in the device, also known as vape juice, contains chemicals and can contain marijuana distillate or oil. The liquid also contains some mix of flavorings, aromatic additives that could smell and taste fruity or minty, depending on the flavor of the device.

Is Vaping Bad For You?

“There are still many unknowns about vaping and its long-term effects, including the vape liquid contents,” stated Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). “Although vapes have been advertised as a way to quit smoking regular cigarettes, vapes still contain nicotine, the same addictive chemical in cigarettes. They also contain chemicals that have the potential to damage the lungs and there are no real regulations on how much nicotine and other chemicals are added.”

Vaping Associated Risks

Our lungs are not built to take in chemicals and oils over time. According to John Hopkins Medicine, the oily liquid from vape devices could have the ability to coat the lungs and cause chronic lung diseases such as lipoid pneumonia, a form of lung inflammation. A National Library of Medicine research review article discussed that
nicotine can lead to brain development risks and may cause anxiety. Nicotine also raises blood pressure and spikes adrenaline. The heart rate then increases, increasing the risk of heart attack. The risk of becoming a regular cigarette smoker and or developing other addictions is high. Reasons for quitting not only involve the health risks, it is also financially expensive and sports performance can dwindle as vaping may lead to lung
irritation.

Tips on Quitting

  • Pick a day on a calendar when you plan on quitting, and let friends or family know.
  • Download an app that helps you track your sober days, build new healthier habits, and provide motivation– visit SmokeFree.gov for free apps to download.
  • Get rid of all vaping devices.
  • Understand what the withdrawal symptoms are such as headaches, hunger, trouble sleeping, and concentrating are just a few.

Feeling the urge to vape? Try these instead:

  • Chewing gum or drinking water
  • Exercise
  • Yoga or meditation
  • Keeping your hands busy

The sooner one quits, the quicker the body rebounds and repairs itself. For more help or information, contact your healthcare provider. You can also text, chat or call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or visit the New York State Department of Health website.

For more information on GO Health programs and services, visit GOHealthNY.org or call your respective health department at:

  • Genesee County: 585-344-2580 ext. 5555
  • Orleans County: 585-589-3278

Follow GO Health on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at GOHealthNY.

Out with the old school, in with Vape U to deal with e-cigarette use at BHS

By Joanne Beck

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Editor's Note: The name of this student has been changed to preserve confidentiality. 

Howard wasn’t really into vaping.

Yet he was doing it socially when hanging out with friends.

And he would also vape in school.

He didn’t get a buzz or feel much of anything at all, he said. But he wanted to go along with the group.

“I think they thought it was mostly cool,” he said at Batavia High School. “I used them from my friends.”

Howard never actually bought any vaping products, and only used them when friends offered.

That is, until it all came to a crashing end. He got caught vaping in class.

“I was mad, kind of scared. I knew my sports would be done,” he said. “I got ATS, and talked to the assistant principal.”

ATS, alternative suspension, is done in-school during the day instead of placing the student at home. Howard was also given another option to take a session of Vape University to reduce his sentence. The university was a pilot program and Howard was the pilot, so to speak, to go through it.

He met one-on-one with math teacher Mark Warren, who was one of four or five teachers who had volunteered to train for the program. They reviewed facts about and negative consequences of vaping.

For example, do you know what’s in a vape cartridge? It may sound all fruity delicious with bubblegum, strawberry cream, blackberry lemonade and watermelon flavors, but, according to the Vape U materials, it contains nicotine, acrolein, an herbicide used to kill weeds, aldehydes, one of the most toxic components of tobacco smoke and cause of cardiovascular disease, ultra fine particles that include heavy metals and flavoring ingredients that can cause irreversible lung damage.

Yet the marketing makes the product seem innocuous and homes in on kids. Perhaps that’s why the first e-cigarette or tobacco product that four out of five youth try is flavored. Want a creme brûlée draw anyone? By 2019, there were 5.4 million middle and high school students using e-cigarettes across the country, the material states.

That’s one of the more surprising facts to Howard, he said. He didn’t realize how many kids were actually vaping. He knows it goes on, but it doesn’t seem all that prevalent, at least not at BHS, he said.

Did you know that some of the short-term effects of vaping include:

  • Reduced lung function
  • Shortness of breath and wheezing
  • Nicotine dependence
  • Decreased sense of smell and taste
  • Teeth discoloration and decay
  • Bad breath
  • Diminished capacity in sports
  • Skin appears pale and unhealthy

And a few of the long-term effects include:

  • Asthma, lung cancer, COPD
  • Diabetes complications
  • Stomach cancer and ulcers
  • Wrinkled skin
  • Mouth and throat cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Infertility
  • Weak bones

Warren also talked to students about their reasons for getting into the habit, and replacements for the behavior. He also listens when needed, he said.

“I’m an additional person, so they can talk to their teachers or counselors administrators, other people in the building, and this just gives one more friendly face,” Warren said.

And what happens if the student doesn’t show up?

“So that would extend the consequence side of it. That's part of our work with the parents. And so we definitely want a consequence side to vaping. But we also really want to help students out, that's why we would have a program like that in the first place, our goal is for (this student) or any of the other students that number one, they were educated on it, and that we were able to come up with a good plan to see if the nicotine is really affecting them, and that they have some replacement behaviors in school,” high school Principal Paul Kesler said. “You know, and so, ultimately, we don't want to see the students missing a lot of class, if it's something that we can help with on the education side of it, and the replacement behavior side of it.”

Students are also given a Quit Kit containing the essentials: suckers, gum, a hair tie to fidget with, and mints. While seemingly frivolous tools to combat potential addiction, it’s important to have something to replace the vaping behavior, Warren and Director of SOAR Chris Merle said.

Students are also confidentially referred to a GCASA counselor who has been working with the district for at least the last five years, Merle said. Referrals are for various issues, including vaping and drug use.

“And so she meets with them confidentially. So, you know, she's very aware of our programming with Vape University and we're very aware of the work that she does with our students. The parents are on board and know that it's happening,” Merle said. "But again, that's sort of part of our combination of … really working with students and giving them access, they might reveal the level that they're struggling with, and then GCASA working with parents could offer further services, or any other agencies in the area as well.”

Students caught vaping don’t have to attend Vape University, but it would reduce the amount of time that they’re out of class and in suspension or alternate suspension. For Howard, his automatic removal from sports also meant another step that he chose to take.

He faced a committee and “I had to tell them why I should be on the team,” he said. He spoke of his qualities and that he was an asset to his team. And that he wasn’t going to be vaping any more.

He was allowed to return, and as a multiple-sport athlete, was grateful for that.

“They let me back on, that made me happy,” he said. “I got a second chance. It made me prove I could be better.”

The downside was that he couldn’t maintain some of his friendships with kids that continued to vape.

“I told them I’m not doing it any more. It’s not cool; it’s just the appearance (of it),” he said. “I didn’t want to surround myself with things they were doing. I pulled myself away from them.”

One success story down, many to go. At least from how Merle describes it. Most school districts are seeing an increase in vaping, she said. “Everywhere.” COVID, as with other issues, can be blamed for this too, at least somewhat. Merle believes that when kids were home a lot more, often alone, there was more opportunity to vape.

“The market has grown exponentially. It’s hit that demographic as well,” she said. “That’s what the American Lung Association will tell you as well, and more research, that it’s really grown a ton in the past few years.”

As for Batavia district’s own research, Vape U leaders will be looking at repeat offenders as markers of their program’s success. With this being year one that began in January, and about a dozen student graduates of Vape U, they have a ways to go before being able to identify solid trends and positive habits, but organizers feel it’s a good start. No repeats yet. There is a survey given to participants at the beginning of the program that will also be used to collect data.

Meanwhile, students will probably continue what students have been doing for decades — smoking (or vaping) in the bathroom, locker rooms, outside of school, in their cars, and the brave ones will do it in classrooms, until they possibly get caught one day. And Batavia officials will introduce them to Vape U.

Warren has noticed a few differences between cigarettes and vaping in the minds of kids today.

“There are kids who would never fathom smoking a cigarette, but think that vaping is ok,” he said. “They see vaping as so less harmful than cigarettes.”

Kesler wants parents to know that this is not just for students.

“As we move into next year, if you have a concern, please contact us. We would love to have this as a resource for parents,” he said.

The district is launching a similar program at the middle school.

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Top Photo of Director of SOAR Chris Merle, BHS Principal Paul Kesler and teacher Mark Warren; and individually as they discuss issues about vaping; a Quit Kit with replacement supplies; and materials used at Vape University. Photos by Howard Owens.

BCSD board approves Juul settlement, lawsuit involves several claims of damages to district

By Joanne Beck

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Batavia City School board members unanimously approved nearly $36,000 in settlement funds Monday from a lawsuit in which the district claimed injury, malice, oppression and fraud against Juul Labs.

As The Batavian first reported on March 7, the city school district was one of 143 districts involved in the lawsuit against the makers of the popular vaping products, alleging that the company “fraudulently and intentionally marketed” its products to children and that those products caused numerous health, financial and structural damages to the district and students.

According to lawsuit documents, the district has had to hire additional personnel, including the second school resource officer, divert current personnel to retain students on campus when possible, purchase extra equipment and supplies, repair damages, and deal with behavioral issues.

The expected proceeds were going to be invested into the city district’s “preventative and restorative” program called Vape University, Superintendent Jason Smith said. Operated at the high school, Vape U is a pilot program geared toward helping students with positive replacement behaviors for vaping.

“I will be meeting with staff in the coming weeks to discuss expanding the program,” Smith said Monday night.

High School Principal Paul Kesler said school leaders are hoping that parents “will reach out to us if they have concerns with their child vaping, so we can proactively help students before they would be caught vaping at school.”

During Monday’s meeting, high school leaders gave a brief overview of the university concept. Omar Hussain, high school assistant principal, noted that taking disciplinary action “without the restorative piece” was not found to be the most effective way to help students caught vaping on campus.

A program has been set up for every Thursday, based on referrals and a student survey, to provide education and mini-counseling sessions to help students deal with and eliminate those behaviors. So far, it seems to have helped, at least with on-site incidents.

"We haven’t had any repeats,” he said.

The settlement’s intent is to provide resources for schools to fund future expenses such as the cost of installing vape detectors in district bathrooms, hiring additional staff to supervise vaping areas on campus, hiring additional counselors to deal with what the plaintiff attorneys cited as well-documented social and emotional issues associated with nicotine addiction, and developing and operating educational programs about the harms of vaping.

In the 287-page lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, there are several paragraphs listing the ill effects of vaping and the alleged motives behind them. In one section, “JLI (Juul Labs Inc.) distinguishes itself, and established the patentability of its e-liquids, by reference to their superlative ability to deliver nicotine, both in terms of peak blood concentration and total nicotine delivery.

The rate of nicotine absorption is key to providing users with the nicotine “kick” that drives addiction and abuse. Because nicotine yield is strongly correlated with tobacco consumption, a JUUL pod with more nicotine will strongly correlate with higher rates of consumption of JUUL pods, generating more revenue for JUUL,” the plaintiff’s experts state.

“For example, a historic cigarette industry study that looked at smoker employees found that ‘the number of cigarettes the employees smoked per day was directly correlated to the nicotine levels.’ In essence, JLI distinguished itself based on its e-liquids’ extraordinary potential to addict.”

Another study, the case states, “corroborates the key result of the Phase 0 study that the 4 percent benzoate solution delivers more nicotine than a combustible cigarette. The Reilly study tested JUUL’s tobacco, crème brûlée, fruit medley, and mint flavors and found that a puff of JUUL delivered 164 ± 41 micrograms of nicotine per 75 mL puff,” it states.

“By comparison, a 2014 study using larger 100 mL puffs found that a Marlboro cigarette delivered 152-193 μg/puff. Correcting to account for the different puff sizes between these two studies, this suggests that, at 75 mL/puff, a Marlboro would deliver about 114-145 μg/puff. In other words, the Reilly study suggests that JUUL delivers more nicotine per puff than a Marlboro cigarette.”

To boil this down in layman’s terms, it would seem that if kids think they’re escaping the bad effects of nicotine by vaping, they are actually reaping nicotine rather high levels found in regular cigarettes, according to these studies. And the stronger the nicotine, the greater the pull for more, and the more likely an addiction forms.

Smith agrees with the negative impacts that vaping can have on students.

“We sadly have students that vape, and of course, it is detrimental to their overall health and well-being,” he said. “This lawsuit represented an opportunity for the District to perhaps ‘right some wrongs’ on behalf of our students.”  

Another discovery made by Juul’s own scientists in 2014 was that the amount of nicotine in its e-cigarettes delivered could be problematic, as scientists were concerned that “a Juul—unlike a cigarette—never burns out.” So the device gives no signal to the user to stop.

According to one source cited in the case, scientists “didn’t want to introduce a new product with stronger addictive power,” but upper management rejected the concerns that the scientists raised, and “[t]he company never produced an e-cigarette that limited nicotine intake.”

The defendants were found guilty of several infractions, including gross negligence, malice, and breach of duty. As a foreseeable consequence, “plaintiff has suffered and will continue to suffer direct and consequential economic and other injuries as a result of dealing with the e-cigarette epidemic in plaintiff’s schools, including but not limited to:

  • Discipline and suspensions related to incidents of e-cigarette use in Plaintiff’s schools have increased at alarming rates;
  • Because of the alarming rise of discipline and suspensions associated with student e-cigarette use, Plaintiff has devoted and diverted staff resources to develop a diversion program so as to allow students who are caught using e-cigarettes to remain in school and in class where possible;
  • Plaintiff has had to close certain school restrooms to deter the use of e-cigarette devices;
  • Because many students who do not engage in e-cigarette activities do not wish to use the school restrooms even to wash their hands, Plaintiff has rented multiple portable hand-washing stations that have been placed outside of restrooms in an effort to maintain student hygiene and prevent the spread of disease;
  • Students in Plaintiff’s schools have openly charged e-cigarette devices in classrooms, causing disruption and diverting staff resources away from classroom instruction;
  • Students in Plaintiff’s schools, addicted to nicotine, have demonstrated anxious, distracted and acting out behaviors, causing disruption and diverting staff resources away from classroom instruction and requiring additional time and attention for addicted students;
  • Plaintiff has had to devote and divert staff resources to intervening in student e-cigarette activities and coordinating necessary follow-up;
  • Plaintiff has had to devote and divert staff resources to conduct staff training on e-cigarette use;
  • Plaintiff has had to devote and divert staff resources to deploying student, family and parent-teacher education regarding the dangers of e-cigarette products;
  • Plaintiff has had to add an additional high-school vice principal to address issues related to student e-cigarette use;
  • Plaintiff has had to add additional school resource officer (SRO) personnel to focus on deterring and preventing student e-cigarette use.
  • Plaintiff has had to devote additional middle school guidance counseling resources to address issues related to student e-cigarette use;
  • Plaintiff has had to acquire and install numerous additional security cameras on its premises to deter e-cigarette activity;
  • Plaintiff has had to install additional signage on district premises to deter e-cigarette activity; and
  • Expending, diverting and increasing resources to make physical changes to schools and/or address property damage in schools.

When asked about the negative impacts of vaping for the March 7 story, Smith did not respond with any specifics. 

Photo: Stock image.

Batavia City Schools to receive $35K as part of mass action lawsuit against Juul

By Joanne Beck

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Editor's Note:  A list of school districts has not been officially distributed, however, The Batavian had obtained a copy of the lawsuit and therefore was aware and was the first to report that Batavia City Schools was one of the districts in the lawsuit. Each district's Board of Education will need to approve the settlement amount before it becomes official, the city school district's communications spokesperson said Tuesday.

Batavia City Schools is slated to receive $35,000 as part of a class action lawsuit that was settled with Juul Labs, Inc. for $3.6 million for its alleged participation in marketing vaping products to children.

The settlement with 143 school districts and BOCES throughout New York State was announced Tuesday. The lawsuit alleged that Juul Labs, makers of popular vaping products, “fraudulently and intentionally marketed” the products to children.

“We sadly have students that vape, and of course it is detrimental to their overall health and well being,” Batavia Superintendent Jason Smith said to The Batavian. “This lawsuit represented an opportunity for the District to perhaps ‘right some wrongs’ on behalf of our students.”  

Smith did not elaborate on the specifics of how the negative effects of vaping were assessed, as asked by The Batavian. 

The city school district has been monitoring bathroom use at the high school, Smith said, and using vaping detectors. Bathroom doors are locked for maintenance and cleaning reasons when needed during the school day, but “that is the only time,” he said. The Batavian asked about locking the bathroom doors in response to receiving some anonymous complaints from the public.

The $35,000 from lawsuit proceeds will be invested in “our preventative and restorative program called VAPE University.”

“It is essentially a program that we pair with traditional consequences for students who have violated the Code of Conduct with respect to vaping,” he said.

BHS Principal Paul Kesler added that Vape University is a program that’s being piloted “to help students with positive replacement behaviors if they are stuggling with quitting vaping.”

“We are hoping that parents will reach out to us if they have concerns with their child vaping so we can proactively help students before they would be caught vaping at school,” Kesler said.

The news release issued Tuesday named Ferrara Fiorenza PC as the plaintiff attorneys representing the school districts in the lawsuit, coordinated with firm partner Jeffrey Lewis in joining a mass tort action seeking recovery for past and future damages relating to student vaping, including money spent on vaping-related issues on campus.

“Vaping among children is an extremely harmful and pervasive problem that our school district clients are facing every day,” Managing Partner Joseph Shields said in the release. “We were thrilled that 143 of our clients opted to stand together and join this mass-action lawsuit to advocate for students and taxpayers throughout the state. This settlement will go a long way in helping our communities, and school districts develop the resources needed to combat the student vaping epidemic.”

The settlement provides resources for schools to fund future expenses, for example, the cost of installing vape detectors in district bathrooms, hiring additional staff to supervise vaping areas on campus, hiring additional counselors to deal with well-documented social and emotional issues associated with nicotine addiction, and developing and operating educational programs about the harms of vaping.

Does Smith believe the district can make an impact on students’ vaping behavior?

“Of course, we always believe that, and that is a core mission--to impact positive change for students,” he said. “Families are encouraged to be part of this process, and their feedback is always welcomed.”

File photo of Jason Smith from Batavia City Schools.

UPDATED: All flavored e-cigs banned statewide, and in pharmacies all tobacco products

By Billie Owens

UPDATED 8:53 p.m. with statement from Paul Pettit, director of Public Health for Genesee and Orleans counties.*

From Tobacco-free GOW:

The sale of flavored e-cigarettes ended in New York State on Monday, May 18, as did the sale of all tobacco products in pharmacies. These are huge steps forward in helping New Yorkers live free from nicotine addiction.

* “We are pleased that this new law has taken effect,” said Paul Pettit, director of the Genesee and Orleans County Health departments. “The timing is excellent with COVID-19 impacting the health of so many who have underlying health issues, which may have been brought on due to health issues related to smoking and vaping.”

The new laws were passed as part of the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget. New York becomes the second state in the nation to restrict the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies. 

“These policies are all part of a full court press, said Andrew Hyland, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Health Behavior and head of Tobacco Control Programs at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. “They are part of long-standing efforts by New York State to change the social norms about tobacco by making products less appealing and less accessible.

"The New York State Smokers Quitline continues to be there for smokers looking to quit (1-866-NY-QUITS, www.nysmokefree.com.)”

Research shows that the flavors in e-cigarettes attract kids and the nicotine addicts them. Nearly 40 percent of high school seniors in New York State use e-cigarettes, also referred to as “vaping,” and 27 percent of all high school youth vape.

This new law ending the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in New York State will protect kids from a lifetime of nicotine addiction.

Notre Dame students rally against vaping, 'interview' wildlife opposed to testing e-cigs on humans

By Billie Owens

("JUUL gets our goat, too!" says Dot.)

Submitted photo and press release:

As part of Truth Initiative’s National Day of Action, Reality Check high school champions from Warsaw in Wyoming County and Notre Dame in Batavia took action on Friday, Oct. 11, with a Safari tour and rally at Hidden Valley Safari Adventure in Varysburg titled “Animals Against Human Testing.” 

Just as humans speak out when companies test their products on animals, the Reality Check students "interviewed zebras, deer, geese – and even a camel named Randy – to get their support." To a critter, they all came out in favor of telling JUUL that their pod-based vaping devices and flavor pods present unknown health risks and are not safe for testing on humans. 

While mingling with their friends from another species, the teens also promoted “This Is Quitting,” the first-of-its-kind text-to-quit-vaping service that gives youth and young adults the motivation and support they need to ditch JUUL and other e-cigarettes.

The Safari continued on social media, as Warsaw and Notre Dame youth took selfies and videos with their new animal friends and posted them on social media using Truth Instagram stickers and the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans.

As cases of lung disease and death resulting from the vaping epidemic continue to sweep across the nation, including the recent death of a 17-year-old male in Bronx – the state’s first vaping-related fatality -- Reality Check youth and their adult leaders wanted more than ever to take a stand against JUUL and vaping.

“Truth Initiative has a long history of calling out Big Tobacco for its deadly exploits, and Tested on Humans is the latest example which exposes just how little is known about the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes,” said Brittany Bozzer, Reality Check Youth Engagement coordinator of Tobacco-Free Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties (TF-GOW).

“We join them in delivering a clear message to JUUL and the entire tobacco industry: the safety and well-being of our region’s youth is not for sale.”

About Truth Initiative                                                                    

Truth Initiative is America’s largest nonprofit public health organization dedicated to making tobacco use a thing of the past. Their mission is clear: achieve a culture where all youth and young adults reject tobacco.

About Reality Check

Reality Check empowers youth to become leaders in their communities in exposing what they see as the manipulative and deceptive marketing tactics of the tobacco industry. The organization’s members produce change in their communities through grassroots mobilization and education.

Efforts are evidence-based, policy-driven, and cost-effective approaches that decrease youth tobacco use, motivate adult smokers to quit, and eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke. Reality Check in this area is affiliated with Tobacco-Free GOW and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

GOW youth coordinator attends national tobacco-control conference

By Billie Owens

Submitted photo and press release:

Brittany Bozzer got a back-to-school experience last week that was positively inspiring.

The youth coordinator for Tobacco-Free Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties (TF-GOW) took a seat at The National Conference on Tobacco or Health (NCTOH 2019) held Aug. 27-29 in Minneapolis, Minn.

She says it was an energizing experience that brought her new insights in education, science and policy making.

NCTOH, one of the largest, long-standing gatherings of the United States tobacco-control movement, attracts a diverse set of public health professionals and scientists to share and learn about best practices and policies to reduce tobacco use — the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States.

Bozzer spent three days learning, networking and collaborating with public health colleagues from across New York State and the United States.

She attended sessions on tobacco-control issues including:

  • Communications and Media to educate and promote; 
  •  Evaluation and Surveillance of tobacco use among different populations;
  • Health Equity around tobacco use;
  • Nicotine and the Science of Addiction;
  • Non-Cigarette Tobacco and Nicotine Products;
  • Tobacco Product Regulation;
  • Tobacco Control Policies and Legal Issues;
  • Tobacco Industry Current Strategies and History;
  • Youth and Young Adult Advocacy and In-school Prevention;
  • Tobacco Control Skill Building Workshops.

Two internationally renowned  experts from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, doctors Andrew Hyland and Maciej Goniewicz, were among the conference panelists for a presentation titled "What Do We Know About E-Cigarette Use and Toxicity.”

They talked about the impacts of vaping, raising evidence-based awareness in the wake of recent mysterious and potentially deadly lung illnesses that appear to be linked to vaping. 

Hyland, Goniewicz, as well as additional researchers from Roswell Park, provide the science-based evidence that advances the work that Bozzer does to reduce tobacco use in communities throughout Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.

About Tobacco-Free Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming

Tobacco-Free Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming is funded through the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Tobacco Control, and is a part of Tobacco-Free Western New York, managed by Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Learn more at tobaccofreewny.com.

(Photo: Brittany Bozzer is on the far right. On the far left is Jonathan Chaffee, youth coordinator of Tobacco-Free Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties (TF-CCA); then Gretchen Galley, PR and media manager, Tobacco-Free Western New York; and third from left is Ken Dahlgren, community engagement coordinator, TF-CCA.)

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