CHICAGO, IL | October 3, 2019
Statement of American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer in response to the release of a new article in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) regarding youth flavored tobacco use:
“Flavors are one of the main reasons kids start to use tobacco products. Our nation is in the middle of a youth e-cigarette epidemic, and sadly, we’re not surprised to learn that according to the CDC’s report, current use of flavored e-cigarettes increased among high school students during 2014-2018 and increased among middle school students during 2015-2018. Over 64% of students who used tobacco products reported using a flavored tobacco product in the past 30 days.
“To protect kids the American Lung Association reiterates its call for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes, flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes. We also support strong tobacco control laws without loopholes that might allow mint and menthol flavors to remain on the market. Fruit, mint and menthol are the most popular flavors among high school students using e-cigarettes, with two-thirds of kids using fruit-flavored e-cigarettes and 64 percent using mint or menthol e-cigarette flavors. Menthol in cigarettes makes it easier for kids to start using tobacco products because it masks the harshness of the smoke. Sales of flavored cigars have also increased by nearly 50 percent since 2008, and flavored cigars made up more than half (52.1 percent) of the U.S. cigar market in 2015.
“This action to end the sale of flavored e-cigarettes is essential to ending the youth e-cigarette epidemic. Preliminary data from the CDC’s National Youth Tobacco Survey found 27.5 percent of high school students are vaping – a staggering increase of 135 percent over just the past two years.
“The youth e-cigarette epidemic is extremely alarming, especially in light of the recent investigations into growing reports of vaping-related deaths and illnesses. The inhalation of harmful chemicals found in e-cigarettes can cause irreversible lung damage and lung disease, and developing lungs are more at risk. We are facing a true public health emergency, and urgent action is required.
“The Lung Association commends the Administration for proposing to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes and encourages the swift release of the proposal. The Lung Association also encourages further action by FDA, Congress as well as states and communities to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.
“The American Lung Association will continue to educate the public about the health risks associated with vaping and all tobacco use, and reiterates the following guidance to the public: Do not use e-cigarettes.”
Learn more about e-cigarettes and lung health at Lung.org/ecigs, including resources for parents and schools. For media interested in speaking with an expert about e-cigarettes, tobacco use and lung health, contact Stephanie Goldina at the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7629.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is 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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