School So Concerned Over Vape Shop, It Held Emergency Meeting During Summer Recess

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

Officials from a New York school district are going after a vape shop set to open in the community, claiming the devices are an insidious practice aimed at addicting children.

The Pleasantville School Board convened an emergency meeting Monday to discuss the new shop, which they argue risks enticing children to take up the practice. The store, called The Glass Room, will be situated near a tutoring center and the local Girl Scouts and is roughly an eight minute walk from the high school, reports Pleasantville Daily Voice.

Fears that e-cigarettes are addicting children and teens to nicotine and serving as a gateway to smoking cigarettes are largely unfounded. The youth smoking rate continues to fall to record lows and vaping rates are also in decline.

Pleasantville Mayor Peter Scherer reminded officials Monday they “cannot outlaw the sale of things as long as they’re legal in New York. “The owners of the shop say they only serve adults, noting they ID people at the door and only allow individuals 18-years and older to enter the store.

“We are a family run business,” Michaelanthony DiFazio, owner of The Glass Room, said on Facebook, according to Pleasantville Daily Voice. “Similar to everyone else on the block, we all have families to feed, and we are just trying to make a living.”

A survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released June 15 revealed after a rapid increase in youth vaping between 2011 and 2015, teens are now giving up the habit. The number of middle school and high school students who use a vaping device dropped from 3 million to 2.2 million in 2016.

Despite the evidence showing vaping devices are overwhelmingly used by adult smokers looking to transition off cigarettes, officials continued to spread fear about vaping causing a public health crisis among American youth at the board meeting Monday. Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey attended the meeting and expressed her support for school officials trying to stop the store from opening.

“I applaud the Pleasantville Union Free School District for raising concerns regarding the opening of a local vaping store,” Lowey said, according to Pleasantville Daily Voice. “With high levels of formaldehyde and other dangerous and cancer-causing chemicals, and marketing ploys aimed squarely at children, parents and members of the community must do all we can to combat youth smoking and prevent epidemic levels of e-cigarette use.”

Proponents of vaping argue critics are ignoring the positive impact the devices are having on current smokers. Vaping eliminates up to 95 percent of the risk associated with cigarettes because the majority of cancer-causing chemicals are inhaled through smoke.

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Steve Birr

Vice Reporter

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