E-Cigarette Use Among Non-Cigarette Smoking Youth Triples

Alarming Study Underscores Urgent Need for Obama Administration to Finalize Oversight of E-Cigarettes and Other Unregulated Tobacco Products by End of 2014

Washington, D.C. (August 25, 2014)

A new study released today in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research shows an alarming increase in the number of middle and high school students who used e-cigarettes but never smoked a cigarette.  The study also found that these youth were almost two times more likely to intend to begin smoking regular cigarettes as youth who had never used e-cigarettes.

The results come from the 2011-2013 National Youth Tobacco Survey of middle and high school students.  The number of youth who used e-cigarettes but never used conventional cigarettes increased from 79,000 in 2011 to 263,000 in 2013. Among these youth, the study found 43.9 percent “intended to smoke conventional cigarettes within the next year.” This is compared to only 21.5 percent who said they intended to smoke a cigarette but had never used an e-cigarette.

Today’s study highlights the urgent need for the Obama Administration to finalize its proposed regulation that would give the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products authority over e-cigarettes and other unregulated tobacco products.  Currently, no e-cigarettes are under FDA’s authority. 

“This is important scientific data that shows e-cigarette use among youth will begin kids on a lifelong addiction to nicotine and tobacco products,” said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO.  “The Obama Administration and FDA must issue its final rule asserting jurisdiction over e-cigarettes by the end of 2014 and begin meaningful oversight of these products so that we do not lose another generation of kids to tobacco caused death and disease.” 

E-cigarettes are sold in dozens of flavors that appeal to kids, including cotton candy, bubble gum, Atomic Fireball, and popular kids’ cereal flavors such as Froot Loops.  One recent study estimated that there are almost 500 different e-cigarette brands today with more than 7700 different flavors.  The three major cigarette companies now all sell e-cigarette products.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act), which became law in 2009, gave FDA immediate authority over cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products.  The Tobacco Control Act also gave FDA the ability to then assert authority or "deem" jurisdiction over all other tobacco products, including cigars, e-cigarettes, hookah and pipe tobacco – the next generation of tobacco products that are being used to target kids.  In April, the FDA released its proposed regulation and in August, the American Lung Association filed its own comments as well as joint comments with partners

The study also examined student exposure to tobacco advertising and found that the more number of advertising sources youth encountered – including ads found online, in magazines, in retail locations stores as well as on TV and in the movies – the more likely they were to say they intended to smoke cigarettes.

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