As Nation Grapples with Pandemic, We Must Also Address Tobacco Use

E-cigarettes remain most used tobacco product, high school students using cigars as much as cigarettes

Statement from American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer in response to the release of the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey data today:

“The American Lung Association is heartened by the overall decline in tobacco use from 23.0% in 2019 to 16.2% in 2020 among all high school and middle school students. However, when we look at high school students specifically, we remain highly concerned that nearly one in four students (23.6%) continues to use at least one tobacco product.  Tobacco use remains the nation’s leading cause of preventable death and disease, and most tobacco users are hooked when they’re young.

“High school students’ continued use of e-cigarettes and cigars has supplanted cigarettes.  This underscores that as policymakers act, they must include all tobacco products, including all cigars, in flavor prohibitions, tax increases and other policies.  Time and time again, the tobacco industry has shown it will exploit any loopholes created by policymakers, such as when policies are not universally applied to all tobacco products. Youth vaping rates from the survey were released earlier this fall and were 19.6% for high school students and 4.7% for middle school students.

“As the Food and Drug Administration continues to review premarket tobacco product applications, we urge the FDA to follow the set of principles developed by the public health community. We know that kids begin using tobacco with flavors, so one key tenet is that FDA should reject all applications for any flavored tobacco product, including all mint and menthol products, in order to prevent and reduce youth tobacco use.” 

For more information, contact:

Elizabeth Cook
[email protected]

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