OSSINING, N.Y. -- To commemorate the Great American Smokeout, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (D-Ossining) and Sen. David Carlucci are proposing greater regulation of electronic cigarettes in New York.
Galef and Carlucci were joined by concerned parents, educators and teachers at the Ossining Public Library, to propose legislation that will treat e-cigarettes the same as tobacco cigarettes.
Last year, Galef and Carlucci got legislation passed that prohibits smoking at playgrounds and other public areas, yet e-cigarettes are not covered by the legislation.
"We are here today to say enough," Galef said. "We have to nip this in the bud before it gets out of control and we are faced with another health epidemic. We are exposing ourselves to potential new hazards, new expenses and public health burdens."
Carlucci criticized e-cigarette companies for marketing to kids.
"It doesn't take a Madison Avenue executive to realize how creating an e-cigarette flavor of 'tutti fruity' will attract a younger demographic," Carlucci said.
Alice Joselow, Executive Director of a Ossining Communities that Care and a parent, said she sees signs all over Ossining advertising e-cigarettes as a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes.
"E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is known to be addictive," Joselow said. "The FDA is very concerned about e-cigarettes as no one what the effect of inhaling vaporized nicotine has on the developing teen brain."
Students at Ossining High School said they did not like how they were being targeted to smoke e-cigarettes.
"They put all those flavors in it to make it sound attractive," Andre Espinoza said. "It makes teenagers want to give in and do it. Teenagers think it's cool. I don't think it's cool. I don't think it's right for companies to do that."
"I am against smoking," Johanna Quituisaca said. "We were educated about how harmful tobacco is. These companies are trying to attract teenagers which is really bad. We are the most vulnerable."
Galef said it was gratifying to have the support of the people they were trying to protect.
"It's the best thing," Galef said. "They are the ones being targeted and they are so opposed to it. Saying no is a very important step and they understand the problems that can occur."
Galef's district covers Peekskill, Ossining, Cortlandt and parts of Putnam County. Carlucci's district covers Rockland County and Ossining.
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