Public Hearing Held In Manhattan To Address Vaping Epidemic

Photo credit Diego_Cervo/Getty Images

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — A public hearing was held Monday in lower Manhattan to address to growing number of issues caused by electronic cigarette use.

As WCBS 880’s Kevin Rincon reports, before lawmakers in Albany considered things like a ban on flavored e-cigarettes, they wanted to hear from experts such as Brad Huntin, New York’s deputy health commissioner.

He was asked about the difference between normal cigarettes and electronic cigarettes, to which he responded: “I think the analogy is like comparing two bombs and asking which is more explosive. They're both very dangerous to health.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 1,888 cases of lung injury stemming from vaping in 49 states (all expect Alaska). As of Oct. 29, there were 37 deaths confirmed in 24 states.

In light of this, lawmakers from across the state have been looking to curb the use of e-cigarettes, but have been mostly unsuccessful.

Dr. Arthur Fugner, the president of the New York Medical Society, also notes that while the number of lung injuries continues to grow, more and more teenagers continue to become addicted to nicotine from vaping.

“We have two problems here: We have this epidemic of lung disease, which is potentially fatal, and we also have this outbreak of adolescent and youth of vaping,” he said.

He notes when it comes to children, 40% who are now vaping never smoked before. Instead, Fugner says vaping is how they became addicted to nicotine.

The hearing was part of an effort to gather facts ahead of the legislative session in January.