Health Care

Health officials say e-cigarette use among teens rising

Health officials say e-cigarette use among teens rising”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Vital Signs report examined tobacco product use changes among USA middle and high school students from the 2011-2018 National Youth Tobacco Surveys and found that about 4.9 million youth were current tobacco users in 2018, with 1.5 million more e-cigarette users in 2018 than the year before. E-cigarette youth users were up by 1.5 million users in 2018 and for the fifth year in a row, e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product.

Among current tobacco users, about 2 in 5 (1.7 million) high school students and 1 in 3 (270,000) middle school students used two or more tobacco products in 2018.

While we know about the harmful effects of traditional cigarettes and vaping, new heated tobacco devices are no less toxic to the human lung cells than ordinary cigarette smoke, said researchers, including one of Indian-origin.

No increase in cigarette smoking or use of any tobacco product other than e-cigarettes was reported by teens from 2017 to 2018.

CDC Director Robert Redfield said the "skyrocketing" growth of young people's e-cigarette use over the past year threatens to erase progress made in reducing youth tobacco use. "And the evidence that we study as students is very compelling and tells us that nicotine addiction is serious, and these products can cause that and put the children at risk". Last year, 27.1% of high school students and 7.2% of middle school students reported current use of a tobacco product, with e-cigarettes the most popular among both groups, used by 20.8% and 4.9%, respectively.

Authorities have tightened regulations, with market leader Juul in particular coming under particular scrutiny.

"All policy options are on the table", Zeller warned. Some had linked e-cigarettes to an unusually large drop in teen smoking a few years ago, and they say it's not clear to what extent the decline in smoking has stalled or to what degree vaping is to blame.

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The proportion of high schoolers who vaped at least 20 of the past 30 days increased to 28 percent in 2018 from 20 percent the year before, the CDC added.

"People skip class to vape", said Grade 10 student Sophie Verbake.

In November, Juul announced it was suspending in-store sales of various flavored products and scrapping its social media presence.

It's also taking a look at whether flavours of e-cigarette juice should be sold in the country. The changes are open to a public comment period lasting until June before they can take effect.

The CDC report singles out the company's sleek device, which is fueled by liquid nicotine "pods", as a reason that the rate of youth e-cigarette use has climbed so high.

E-cigarettes expose users to significantly lower levels of potentially toxic substances than traditional cigarettes, except for nicotine, the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said past year.

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