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Onondaga County recommends residents stop using e-cigarettes for now

ecig vap

There have been 74 cases of vape-associated illnesses in New York State, with seven occurring in central New York. Onondaga County is joining Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state health department in recommending residents stop using electronic cigarettes, until an investigation into the cause of the illnesses is complete. Health officials and sellers of vape products are divided on the state's ban of flavored e-cigarettes.

New York is the first state to implement a ban, after there was an outbreak of lung disease from vaping across the country. But critics of the ban, like Gary Colmey, who sells flavored CBD vape cartridges at his store, Gary's Indoor Garden Supply in Rome, say the illnesses are coming from illegal bootleg marijuana products, not e-cigarettes.

“I’m looking at an industry being demonized for something they have absolutely nothing to do with,” Colmey said.

Chris Owens is the director of the Central New York Regional Center for Tobacco Health Systems at St. Joseph’s Health. He said the ban on flavored e-cigarettes is a great idea to decrease how attractive these products are to young people.

"More and more kids who are susceptible to this type of experimentation, are being drawn to the e-cigarettes through advertising and the flavors that are in these solutions,” Owens said. "Once they start using the e-cigarettes, they become very highly nicotine addicted. That is when they start experimenting with other additives to go in these e-cigarette solution cartridges.”

The Onondaga County Health Department recommends people that do use e-cigarettes to not buy them off the street, or modify them with any other substances.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.