By: Nick Josselyn
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y.- With rising health concerns regarding e-cigarette products, governments on both the state and national level are pushing toward a ban on flavored e-cigarette and vape products. Supporters of the ban cite a correlation between e-cigarette users and lung illnesses. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) have counted around 530 respiratory illness cases and six deaths correlated to the usage of these products.
Vaping and e-cigarette usage is very common among students at Niagara University. Jess Pukos, a community advisor for Niagara University’s Clet Hall dorms, sees the popularity of e-cigarette products among students to be a cause for alarm. “I am strongly against vaping since we don’t know all the repercussions it can do a lot of harm that we don’t entirely know about yet.” Pukos said, “I think that if people are doing it in this school, and I know there are, then it is a problem.” Before being moved to Clet Hall, Pukos was a community advisor for Seton Hall, a building known for a history of vaping-related fire alarms.
Nicotine products, including both tobacco and e-cigarettes, are able to be purchased at most gas stations around the town of Niagara Falls. Alexis Ward, a cashier at the Valero gas station on Military Road, has been selling e-cigarette products to a large demographic of college aged people for the past three years. “These products are in pretty high demand” Ward said. “Most of our customers purchasing these products are between the ages of 18 and 35.” With the Valero being a three-minute drive from Niagara University, it is a popular place among Niagara students to purchase e-cigarette products.
Along with banning all flavored e-cigarette products with the exception of tobacco and menthol flavors, Governor Cuomo announced an emergency state executive action that will raise the legal age to purchase tobacco and vape products from 18 to 21 starting Nov. 13.
Gas stations, like the Valero on Military Road, are very common places for students to purchase e-cigarettes and related products.