E-cigarettes have been falsely marketed as a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes and as a tool to help adult smokers quit. Tobacco companies are targeting youth and addicting a new generation to tobacco and nicotine, reversing the decades-long progress that has been made in reducing youth tobacco use. The use of e-cigarettes such a vapes and Juul is becoming an increasing crisis among teens. More than 1 in 5 high school students (20.8%) reported that they used an e-cigarette in the past month, a 78% increase over the previous year. And, there is evidence that kids and young adults may transition from e-cigarettes to traditional cigarettes and other drugs. Many adolescents falsely believe these products are safe, and many teens don’t even realize they contain nicotine. When asked about what’s in their e-cigarette, 66% said just flavoring.
To address this dramatic rise in e-cigarette use, we need stronger regulation by the FDA on the design, manufacturing, sales and marketing on all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. We must advocate for the inclusion of e-cigarettes in proven strategies and public policies including:
- comprehensive clean indoor air laws
- access to and coverage of evidence-based methods to quit tobacco use and nicotine addiction
- tobacco excise taxes
- raising the legal sales age for tobacco products to 21
- removing sales in pharmacies and health-related institutions
- public education campaigns