Hackensack Meridian Health Partners with Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. and Metuchen School District to Discuss Dangers of Vaping

November 27, 2019

From Left: Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr.; Michael Kleinman, DMD, Hackensack Meridian Health Board of Trustees member; Eric, Costanzo, D.O. pulmonologist and critical care expert at Jersey Shore University Medical Center and Ocean Medical Center; Regina M. Foley, Ph.D,MBA, RN; Chief Hospital Executive, Hackensack Meridian Health Southern Ocean Medical Center; Kenan Osmanovic, M.D. assistant medical director in child psychiatry, Jersey Shore University Medical Center; Dr. Vincent Caputo, Superintendent, Metuchen School District; Harry Carson, New York Giants Team Captain and Super Bowl Champion; Samantha Rubin, Student Assistance Coordinator, Metuchen High School, and Metuchen High School Students Justin Derector, Daniel Schleif, Joshua Bhujbal.

Congressman Pallone headlined Take Vape Away forum, along with key medical experts, school district leaders and educators

Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive health network, conducted its second Take Vape Away forum in partnership with Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) and the Metuchen School District. The forum educated attendees about the dangers of vaping, which have led to more than 2,200 lung-related illnesses and 47 deaths in the U.S., according to the CDC.

Congressman Pallone was joined by Harry Carson, former New York Giants Team Captain, along with a panel of medical experts, school district leaders and educators who discussed the dangers of vaping. Hackensack Meridian Health officials presented the Metuchen School District with a $7,000 grant to support the district’s efforts to combat vaping in both middle school and high school.

“As a father and health care executive for 35 years, I am alarmed at the vaping epidemic, especially among our children and believe we must take an aggressive, multi-targeted approach,’’ said Robert C. Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, which organized the event with Congressman Pallone.

“We are seeing patients in our hospitals and physician offices with serious and perhaps lifelong health problems due to vaping, including a 21-year-old woman who spent nearly two weeks in intensive care.’’

More than 2,200 patients have been treated for lung injuries associated with vaping across the U.S. and 47 deaths related to vaping illnesses. In New Jersey, there have been 46 confirmed cases of vaping-related illnesses and one confirmed death. More than one-third of the patients treated for vaping-related illnesses are 20 years old and younger.

“The proliferation of slick new products with enticing flavors has reversed the historic declines in tobacco use among young people, which is why Congress must respond with bold action to address this public health crisis. The good news is that Congress is taking important steps to respond to the youth tobacco epidemic, which threatens a new generation of young people to a lifetime of nicotine addiction and poor health outcomes,” said Congressman Pallone.

Last week, Congressman Pallone’s Energy and Commerce Committee passed his comprehensive legislation to address the youth tobacco epidemic. The Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act would prohibit all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, increase the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products to 21, ban certain non-face-to-face sales for tobacco products, and protect kids from the marketing of tobacco products.

“Youth vaping has reached epidemic levels, with more than 1 in 4 high school students using e-cigarettes,” said Regina M. Foley, Ph.D., MBA, RN, chief hospital executive of Hackensack Meridian Health Southern Ocean Medical Center, who moderated the panel. “That is why Hackensack Meridian Health is taking this important action to educate our parents and youth on the dangers of vaping. We must all work together to protect this generation of young people from getting addicted to nicotine.”

In October, Hackensack Meridian Health launched Take Vape Away, a $1 million campaign to combat youth vaping that includes grants to school districts and community groups, an educational program in schools, as well as research conducted at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University to determine the best approaches to keep youth from vaping.

For more information, please visit: http://takevapeaway.com