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Tobacco Prevention Work Continues in Washington State

Tobacco use continues to be a leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. and the emergence of e-cigarette use, particularly among youth, once again has public health officials, parents, teachers and others on high alert. Given this youth epidemic and recent outbreak of e-cigarette-related disease, AHA has stood in strong support of states, including Washington, taking emergency action to remove flavored e-cigarettes from the market.

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hero_image_alt_text===A pair of hands one holding a traditional cigarette and one holding an e-cigarette
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thumbnail_alt_text===A pair of hands one holding a traditional cigarette and one holding an e-cigarette

Research published last month from the American Heart Association’s Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science showed how significant a role flavors play in youth initiation and continued use of all tobacco products. Nearly a third of respondents indicate flavors in e-cigarettes was a major reason they started vaping, with young adults nearly twice as likely as older adults to identify flavors as the major reason they took up e-cigarette use. Moreover, never-smokers were 58% more likely than former smokers and 46% more likely than current smokers to start using e-cigarettes because of flavors. Additionally, the US Surgeon General estimated that nearly 6 million children will die prematurely in adulthood if the current trend of e-cigarette use among middle school and high school students continues.

The 2018 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey showed nearly 1 in 3 Washington 12th graders reported using e-cigarettes in 2018. Even 8th graders are picking up the dangerous habit, with 10% reporting e-cigarette use in 2018.

We applaud the Washington State Board of Health’s October 9 action to remove flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol, from the market. We will continue work already underway to further protect youth from tobacco by permanently removing both flavored e-cigarettes and flavored combustible tobacco products from the market, and securing funding for the state Tobacco and Vapor Product Control Program.

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