SYRACUSE, N.Y. — What was once seen as the cure for an addiction to cigarettes is now being blamed for some devastating illnesses and deaths.
But for some people in Central New York, vaping is a way to make a living. A proposed ban on flavored e-cigarettes could tank that.
Thursday night on NBC3, a diverse panel of experts helped us break down every angle of the vape debate right here in CNY, and discussed the future of vaping in New York.
Doctors, educators and vape shop owners discussed the impacts of vaping on young people, and what New York's proposed vaping flavor ban could mean for small business owners.
"Students say, 'I hate the smell. My grandmother smoked. It's disgusting,'" said Central Square School District Superintendent Thomas Colabufo. "But this is different. They say and it's flavor and the girl is trying to tell me why it's better and I'm looking at a twelve-year-old girl and saying you have no idea what you're putting in your system.”
"If your parents are buying you Juuls and then you are taking them to school and selling them to classmates, your parents should face steep repercussions,” said Greg Finch, General Manager of Premium E-Cigs and Vapors.
The entire panel agreed there should be regulation for e-cigarettes but differed on what regulations should mean.
"Not only am I in favor of regulation but I've been volunteering my own time away from my business for the past six legislation sessions begging lawmakers to look at science and put sensible regulations in place," said Andrew Osbourne, Vice President of the NYS Vapor Association.
"What my concern is that if people are getting sick and dying from some of these products potentially we owe it to public health we need to use precautionary principles to say until we figure it out, we should be considering stopping the sale of some of these products or regulating them more forcefully," said Dr. Travis Hobart, a Pediatrician at Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital.
All the panelists agreed more needs to be done to keep e-cigs away from teens.
"I would like to see us still recognize this as a public health crisis. I think we need to work very hard and do the research and see what's causing it," said Michele Caliva, Administrative Director, Upstate New York Poison Center. "Nicotine is a harmful chemical our youth should not be ingesting."
Watch the entire debate by clicking play above.