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Smoke Shop Counter Sparks Concern Among Doctors and Students in South Bronx

Photo: L Hong To Rtai

In the heart of the Bronx, a troubling trend in smoke shop counter is emerging as some emergency room doctors report an influx of school students, some as young as elementary age, showing up at the ER before school, suffering from cannabis-related ailments.

Smoke Shop Counter Sparks Concern Among Doctors and Students in South Bronx (Photo: Yahoo News)

The Smoke Shop Counter Surge

In a news featured by ABC7, in September 22, 2023, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain have become common complaints, and many of these young patients admit to have a smoke shop counter consuming marijuana shortly before heading to school. This alarming situation has raised concerns about the proliferation of smoke shop counters in the Bronx, which some experts believe may be contributing to the issue.

The Bronx is witnessing a rapid increase in the number of smoke shop counter within its neighborhoods. Eyewitness News uncovered a startling statistic – a staggering 39 smoke shop counters are now located within just a 1.6-mile radius of the South Bronx. High school students in the area, like Alexa Pacheco and Itzel Robles, have observed this surge firsthand and find it deeply unsettling.

They recently explored the issue in an article for the Bronx Documentary Center and discovered that smoke shop counters are not only readily available but also willing to approach students, sometimes even in school uniforms, offering them marijuana.

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Legal Loopholes and Health Concerns

According to the report published by Yahoo News, while New York State health laws have strict regulations prohibiting smoke shops from advertising tobacco products within 500 feet of a school, our investigative reporter, Kristin Thorne, found blatant violations. Smoke shop counter are not only flouting these rules but also remain largely unaware of their existence. A shop on East 170th Street, for instance, was discovered to be within 300 feet of The Walton Avenue School, a clear violation of the law.

The New York State Health Department responded strongly, declaring that the public display of tobacco products in smoke shop counter windows constitutes advertising and violates public health laws. This situation has left many questioning the effectiveness of current regulations and their enforcement.

As the Bronx experiences with this concerning trend of students falling ill due to cannabis consumption, there is a pressing need for both increased awareness among smoke shop counter owners regarding health laws and stricter enforcement of existing regulations. The well-being of these young students, the future of our community, must take precedence over any business interests.

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