Rep. King, Long Island Officials Launch Offensive Against Flavored E-Cigarettes, Teen Vaping

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RONKONKOMA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Officials on Wednesday announced plans to combat the vaping crisis, just one day after New York reported its first death linked to the devices.

They also spoke about new technology that helps schools detect vaping.

A Long Island school district is one of three nationwide that is suing Juul Labs, claiming the e-cigarette maker is forcing the school district to pour time and money into fighting the addiction epidemic.

The Three Village Central School District is among those paying $1,000 a piece for newly invented vaping detectors manufactured on Long Island by IPVideo Corporation. A beeping or silent alarm sounds, alerting school officials to vaping in bathrooms, hallways, gymnasiums and auditoriums. A single detector covers 1,000 square feet. The company gave CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan a demonstration of the Halo Smart Sensor.

“They want to be more reactive in a school district to be able to tie this in to a camera that’s outside the area of privacy to be able to determine who vaped and they get an alert right to their iPhone or Android device and they often have video of that individual as they exit that area of privacy,” IPVideo President David Antar said.

A group of Long Island lawmakers, elected officials and parents told McLogan an urgent response is needed in response to Tuesday’s news of the sudden death of a Bronx teen brought the total number of vaping-related deaths in the U.S. to 23. There have also been 1,100 cases of severe vaping illnesses reported nationwide.

“The reason I think we have to have federal legislation is that states can have tough legislation, good legislation, but then we can run into the issue of smuggling if it’s not at the national level. We can have national standards, national prohibition even on it that will make it much harder for these to be circulated among young people,” Congressman Peter King said.

King, a Republican representing a large portion of the South Shore, is co-sponsoring legislation calling for a ban on sales of flavored e-cigarettes and a national campaign to alert children to the dangers of vaping. He wants to more than double annual funding for the Centers for Disease Control from $210 million to $500 million, and create a tax on e-cigarette products equivalent to $3 per pack.

The veteran lawmaker said it seems like this is one issue in which Republicans and Democrats are united.

“Right, there should be no room for partisanship,” King said. “We are fighting over enough things. This is something we can come together on.

“This is a national epidemic, a national health crisis,” he added.

According to the state Department of Health, nearly 40% of high school seniors, and 27% of students overall vape.

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