An "epidemic" of vaping amongst US teens

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported this week that in 2018 there are around 4.9 million American teenagers who are using tobacco in the form of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars and hookahs. This is around 1.5 million more than the previous year they add in the report. Smoking cigarettes has declined but there is an “epidemic” of vaping and use of e-cigarettes says the CDC.

Image Credit: Aliaksandr Barouski / Shutterstock
Image Credit: Aliaksandr Barouski / Shutterstock

As a response to this alarming rise in vaping among youngsters, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have proposed a tightening of the regulations regarding vaping products. According to health officials, e-cigarettes surpass all other forms of tobacco use in its meteoric rise in popularity among high school and middle school students in America.

FDA commissioner, Dr Scott Gottlieb in a statement said, “These data are a sobering reminder of the rampant rise of youth e-cigarette use. I fear this trend will continue in 2019, forcing us to make some tough decisions about the regulatory status of e-cigarettes.” “No child should be using any tobacco or nicotine-containing product and we’re committed to reversing this epidemic,” Gottlieb said.

FDA’s inaction till now has been criticised by many health advocates and a group of health campaigners have sued the FDA for delaying regulations that can control e-cigarette use. They state that these regulations were due since the new President came into office. After release of the CDC report, the campaigners have urged the FDA to take “critical actions” and stop the sale of all forms of flavoured tobacco. Last week 11 free market think tanks which have accepted tobacco industry donations applied to the FDA to stop regulation of e-cigarettes. They have said that these regulations are a result of “panic” over adolescent e-cigarette use. They claim that these regulations would cost jobs in the American.

Dr Robert Redfield, director of the CDC said in a statement, “The skyrocketing growth of young people’s e-cigarette use over the past year threatens to erase progress made in reducing youth tobacco use. It’s putting a new generation at risk for nicotine addiction.”

US maker of Marlboro cigarettes called Altria has bought 35 percent stake in e-cigarette maker Juul investing $12.8bn. According to health advocates Juul is more widely blamed for this “epidemic” than others. The sleek appearance of the e-cigarette helps camouflage it as a USB stick say experts.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.

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