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GUEST BLOG: Three Months, Still Waiting - The Time is Now!

Hi, everyone! Hannah, your friendly AHA blogger here. I want to chat with you about a topic that was recently brought to my attention by the AHA. This month marks 3 months since President Trump announced he was going to remove flavored electronic cigarettes from the market. Although it has been 3 months, we are STILL waiting for the Administration to act on this promise. We cannot wait any longer! 5 million teens and young adults are using e-cigarettes and millions are at a high risk.

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What can we do to encourage President Trump to finally remove all flavored e-cigarettes and tobacco products from the market completely? I believe that we, as young adults affected by this epidemic, need to use our voice and express just how bad this problem has become. Recent data shows that more than 27.5% of high school students and 10.5% of middle school students have used an e-cigarette in the last 30 days. Yes, just in the last 30 days! Crazy, right? You would think that these numbers, alone, would be enough for the Administration to act on this issue ASAP. But, they are simply not enough. We must urge President Trump and the Administration to do something about this NOW, otherwise, we may never see action on this issue. 

In addition, nearly 70% of students say they have been exposed to e-cigarette ads. They are everywhere we look. People of all ages purchase e-cigarettes, but the vast majority of sales are from young adults. Electronic cigarette companies are aware that if underage children see enough ads for their products, they will want them! With Tobacco 21 laws in place we are adding a barrier to access by teens to tobacco products but underage children are still finding ways to obtain the flavored e-cigarettes they crave. Removing flavored e-cigarettes from the market can go a LONG way to both removing the attraction to teens to use them and ultimately save lives. 

To improve public health in our generation, we have to remove all flavored e-cigarettes and tobacco products as soon as possible! But, we cannot do this by ourselves. It is not enough for companies and agencies to tell the Administration how horribly our generation is affected by e-cigarettes. President Trump and the Administration need to hear it directly from us, the people who are becoming addicted to e-cigarettes and overwhelmed with ads. Although you may feel like President Trump and the Administration could never hear you or what you have to say, all it takes is enough of us speaking up for them to see that action is long overdue. In order for change to happen, you must first know that your voice DOES matter and you CAN make a difference!

If you think, “I’m not addicted to e-cigarettes, this doesn’t affect me,” consider your classmates, teammates, and close friends who may be using these products! If enough of us speak out about this issue, we are sure to see change. I feel that within our generation, we are often not taken seriously when it comes to how strongly we feel about the use of flavored e-cigarettes and other nicotine related products. In order to be taken seriously, we have to show the Administration that their inaction is no longer acceptable and that my, our, generation’s lives are dependent on them. 

A glimpse into the mental and physical health of our generation’s e-cigarettes users should have us all yelling, ENOUGH! Young lives are being consumed by their e-cigarette addiction. Soon, your whole life revolves around a little flavored stick and it takes an extreme toll on your mental health. We have to do something NOW!

Please, take action now and use your voice to save the lives of a generation of children consumed by flavored e-cigarettes and tobacco products. I need your help to make sure the President and the administration hear our message loud and clear! Their inaction is no longer an option and we expect them to keep their promise to remove all flavored e-cigarettes and tobacco products from the marketplace. I encourage you to take the time to write a message to President Trump and members of the Administration because your voice MATTERS! CLICK HERE to get started!

Until next time,

Hannah Walker

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