New Study Identifies Why Kids Begin, Continue E-Cigarette Use, Now the Most Commonly Used Tobacco Product by Youth
Study released same day FDA authority over e-cigarettes and other tobacco products takes effect
(August 8, 2016) - CHICAGO
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Statement of Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, in response to today's release of the paper "Reasons for Trying E-cigarettes and Risk of Continued Use," published in the journal Pediatrics:
"Youth are using e-cigarettes at an increasing and alarming rate. E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product by youth, and this new study in Pediatrics seeks to understand why youth first try and continue to use e-cigarettes. Each of the reasons found for youth use of e-cigarettes can be addressed through policy change—if decision makers have the political will to do so.
"The most common reasons for trying e-cigarettes included curiosity about e-cigarettes, good flavors and friends' use. This finding reinforces that flavors like strawberry, grape and bubble gum are a strong allure for youth to begin using e-cigarettes. The American Lung Association is very disappointed that in the final 'deeming rule,' which takes effect today, the White House Office of Management and Budget stopped the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from removing flavored e-cigarettes from the market. The FDA proposed removing e-cigarette flavors from the market as of November of this year, demonstrating that there is sufficient and significant evidence that prohibiting candy-flavored tobacco products will protect kids from becoming the next generation hooked on nicotine and tobacco products. The American Lung Association will continue to urge policymakers to use the scientific facts already established and remove all flavored tobacco products from the marketplace.
"For youth who reported trying e-cigarettes because of the low cost, six months later they were using e-cigarettes on more days. The paper concludes that legislative strategies such as increasing cost may be important for preventing continued use in youth, and the American Lung Association supports taxing e-cigarettes at the same levels as all other tobacco products to discourage youth use.
"While the FDA has not approved any e-cigarette as a safe or effective method to help smokers quit, many e-cigarette companies market their product as a tool to help smokers quit. This study found those youth who said they tried e-cigarettes to quit smoking were over 14 times more likely to continue e-cigarettes than those who did not report this reason. FDA must crack down on unproven health claims, and with other public health agencies, promote evidence-based quit smoking treatments so that those who want to quit smoking are set up for success."
"E-cigarettes are a tobacco product, and almost all e-cigarettes contain nicotine—a highly addictive substance that has been shown to have a negative impact on brain development during adolescence and young adulthood, including lasting cognitive and behavioral impairments. As the FDA begins its oversight of e-cigarettes, we will learn more about them and expect additional safeguards will be put in place to protect public health."
Learn more about e-cigarettes and lung health at Lung.org/ecigs. For media interested in speaking with an expert about e-cigarettes, youth tobacco use and lung health, contact the American Lung Association at Media@Lung.org or 312-801-7628.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.