Teens, educators share personal stories in push to keep students away from e-cigs

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TARRYTOWN -

Local teens are among those pushing for stricter e-cigaraette laws after they say it has become a big problem among groups of friends.

With e-cigarette use among high schoolers at 78% last year, Hudson Valley educators, health professionals and students came together to discuss the alarming numbers. Westchester teens attended a roundtable discussion in Tarrytown Monday, sharing personal stories of e-cigarette's personal effects.

There is now federal legislation to ban e-cigarette use in schools. Teens also called for a ban on the use of flavors, which experts say help market them to kids.

Statistics show one in five teens now vape. E-cigarettes have been marketed as a tool to quit smoking, but experts say it is actually initiating a new generation of smokers.

Educators say they're changing their approaches to disciplining kids caught using e-cigarettes.

"Whether it's counseling, whether it's diversion...making sure we are in contact with parents and guardians so that we can really help kids move away from making bad decisions," says White Plains Superintendent Dr. Joseph Ricca.

Earlier this month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law set to kick in later this year that would require anyone in New York to be at least 21 years old to buy tobacco products.

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