New York

Sen. Schumer Says NY Kids Smoking Covert E-Cigarettes, Calls for Faster Regulation

The slim devices look like USB drives

What to Know

  • High school students said the new e-cigarette is covert enough to smoke during class
  • More than 1 in 5 New York schoolchildren smoke e-cigarettes — the highest percentage in the country
  • Sen. Schumer called on the FDA to regulate the devices, which would restrict users to 18 years or older

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the federal government to reverse a recent decision to delay the regulation of e-cigarettes.

The New York Democrat said Sunday that the Food and Drug Administration should reconsider its decision announced earlier this year to put regulating electronic cigarettes on hold.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the delay would give the agency time to determine how e-cigarettes fit into its overall strategy for tobacco regulation.

But Schumer says e-cigarettes must be regulated because growing numbers of teens are using them.

According to the surgeon general, in 2015 more than 3 million middle and high school students said they had used e-cigarettes in the past month.

More than one in five New York schoolchildren use e-cigarettes — the highest percentage in the country. 

Schumer says the nicotine gadget called Juul has become especially popular among teenagers because it's easy to hide. It looks a lot like a USB drive. 

"One Juul pod promises the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes," Schumer said. 

Students say the Juul e-cigarettes are so covert students smoke them in class, despite a ban on e-cigarettes in New York schools

"It's fun," Brooklyn high schooler Melinda Feratovic said. "Everyone in school has them. I guess it's like the new thing. It's trending a lot, everyone gets it. Literally everyone has it."  

Feratovic's friend, Anchela Mbrice, said the devices are more convenient. 

"You can just slip it in your pocket," Mbrice said. "Smoke it, put it right back in." 

Regulations, if passed, would restrict users to 18 years or older, prohibit vending machine sales and forbit free samples. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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