Posted: August 10, 2017 in Education, Health, In the News

Legislation will significantly reduce youth exposure to tobacco products

Assemblyman Kevin Byrne (R,C,I,Ref-Mahopac) announced that on July 25, 2017 Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation A.611/S.750 that immediately banned the use of electronic cigarettes on all public and private school grounds in New York. Byrne is a co-sponsor of the Assembly bill introduced by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, and also previously worked for the American Heart Association as a regional director.

“Regardless of your opinion on tobacco products vs. e-cigarettes, everyone can agree that e-cigarettes have no place on school grounds,” said Assemblyman Kevin Byrne. “I am proud to be a prime co-sponsor of this legislation, and I thank the governor for signing this legislation into law.”

By diminishing access on school grounds, this legislation will bolster New York’s ability to prevent childhood and teenage access to addictive products hazardous to their health. Nicotine is typically found in e-cigarettes, vaping pens and similar electronic systems. Exposure to nicotine as a child can lead to addiction and be harmful to the brain.

“E-cigarettes have no place in our schools. This is a common-sense measure that has been a long time coming,” said Sen. Terrence Murphy, who voted in favor of the bill on the Senate floor. “Adolescents whose bodies and minds are still developing should not be tempted to experiment with e-cigarettes, particularly while they are in school. This legislation can prevent a generation of teens from being saddled with serious health problems.”

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell said, “I appreciate Assemblyman Byrne taking action, by co-sponsoring this bill, to limit the exposure future generations have to nicotine-related products while at school.”

Dr. Michael Nesheiwat, the Putnam County Commissioner of Health, added, “This legislation will increase the protections our children have from becoming addicted to nicotine products. And I think we can all agree that our school grounds should be a safe and healthy environment for our children.”

In March, the governor’s office released a survey by the New York State Department of Health, which found that e-cigarette use by high school students nearly doubled in the last two years from 10.5 percent in 2014 to 20.6 percent in 2016. Additionally, a recent U.S. Surgeon General’s report revealed the number of high school students using e-cigarettes soared 900 percent between 2011 and 2015, becoming the most commonly used form of nicotine among youths.