New Data Shows Urgent Need for West Virginia to Act to Protect Kids from E-cigarettes as FDA Announces Plans to Move Forward with Ending the Sale of Menthol Cigarettes and Flavored Cigars
American Lung Association Urges Governor Justice and the West Virginia Legislature to Push Forward to Address Youth E-cigarette ‘Epidemic’
(November 15, 2018) - CHARLESTON, W.V.
Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it intends to take a historic step forward in reducing the death and disease caused by tobacco use in our nation. The agency announced a multipronged approach on tobacco: its intent to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, while also implementing restrictions on e-cigarette sales in certain locations. However, FDA’s response to protecting youth from e-cigarettes will not be sufficient in light of the startling new data released today on youth e-cigarette use, according to the American Lung Association. The American Lung Association in West Virginia encourages Governor Jim Justice and the West Virginia State Legislature to address this epidemic by funding tobacco prevention and education programs and services to reduce and prevent youth e-cigarette use.
“With today’s announcement, the FDA is taking an important step forward in the effort to reduce tobacco use and protect the nation’s health,” said Sarah Lawver, American Lung Association in West Virginia, Director of Advocacy. “However, this effort stands in the shadow of a new report showing skyrocketing use of e-cigarettes by kids. The American Lung Association calls on Governor Justice and the State Legislature to take swift action to protect kids from this e-cigarette epidemic and a lifetime of nicotine addiction by restoring funding for tobacco prevention and education programs and services to a level of $5.65 million.”
Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also announced that youth use of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed, with a 78 percent increase in high school students’ use of e-cigarettes since last year – meaning that one in five high school students are using e-cigarettes. It also shows a nearly 50 percent increase in the use of e-cigarettes by middle school students since 2017. While reducing youth access to e-cigarettes is an important step, the Lung Association continues to urge the FDA to use its full authority to protect kids, including ending the sales of all flavored tobacco products, including all flavored e-cigarettes, from the marketplace. And in the meantime, the Lung Association is calling on states including West Virginia to take action now.
In 2017 and 2018, Tobacco Prevention and Education funding was eliminated from the state budget, leaving West Virginia as one of the only states that is currently not investing any funding in tobacco prevention and cessation programs. The Lung Association recommends that funding is restored for these lifesaving programs and services at the level of $5.65 million per year.
For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health, tobacco use and tobacco policies, contact the American Lung Association Communications Director Ewa Dworakowski at [email protected] or 717-503-3903 and to learn more about e-cigarettes visit Lung.org/ecigs.
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 coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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