Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study on the number of middle and high school students in the U.S. who use e-cigarettes. The study found that 2.55 million middle and high school students reported current (in the past 30 days) e-cigarette use. This devastating statistic shows how Big Tobacco’s continued immoral marketing practices have caught millions of kids in its grasp.
Since 2014, e-cigarettes have been the most used tobacco product among U.S. middle and high school students. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive chemical that can harm the developing adolescent brain and can increase the risk for future addiction to other drugs. E-cigarettes come in a variety of flavors designed to appeal to kids, such as fruit, dessert, mint, and menthol. Flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes, make it easier for students to become addicted to nicotine, increasing their risk of tobacco-related illnesses, including cancer.
That’s why ACS CAN is urging the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to take enforcement action to get these products out of the hands of kids. ACS CAN and its partners have called on FDA to enforce regulations on new products, including e-cigarettes.
These actions must be part of larger tobacco control strategies at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN advocates across the country are working hard to pass policies proven to reduce tobacco use among kids, such as regular and significant tobacco tax increases, comprehensive smoke-free laws, adequate funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs and Medicaid coverage for proven cessation services. Upholding standards of public health and reducing the number of tobacco products on the market will help limit the potential for future generations to become addicted to tobacco and suffer from tobacco-related diseases like cancer.
Lives are at stake. This study by the CDC shows the urgent need for lawmakers across the country to take action to prioritize kids over Big Tobacco.