Community leaders warn of e-cigarette usage by teens

YONKERS - Community leaders came together Wednesday to sound the alarm on the growing trend of e-cigarette use by Westchester teens.

A roundtable organized by Rep. Nita Lowey featured a lineup of some of the most influential thinkers on the topic.

Lowey says e-cigarette use among teens has climbed tenfold in the past decade. She says there are twice as many students in Westchester who vape than who smoke regular cigarettes.

Student advocates say they feel e-cigarettes are being directly marketed to children, with names like Swedish Fish, Gummi Bear and Strawberry Crush.

Ellen Morehouse, of Student Assistant Services, says children as young as 12 can easily hide the habit.

“Kids could be sitting in math class, and they start inhaling it and the teacher thinks they are chewing on a pen or pencil,” she says.

A student from White Plains High School says that e-cigarettes are everywhere in school, from the hallways to the bathroom.  She said what is most frustrating is the perceived social profiling from Big Tobacco.

“I feel vaping targets minority students who already have enough obstacles in their way to succeed,” she says. 

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