Statement of American Lung Association Chief Medical Officer Albert A. Rizzo, MD 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 tobacco use among middle and high school students:
“Today’s MMWR confirms that teen tobacco use is still an alarming problem that requires immediate action. In 2019, close to 1 in 3 high school students (4.7 million) and 1 in 8 middle school students (1.5 million) currently use a tobacco product—this means 6.2 million kids total, up from 3.6 million just two years ago. We are failing the health of our youth if we don’t act quickly. Electronic cigarettes have not only replaced cigarettes as the product of choice among high school students, but they have addicted millions more youth.
"More than 2.1 million kids are considered dual users, meaning they use more than one tobacco product concurrently, including e-cigarettes, cigars, cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and hookahs.
"Flavors are one of the main reasons kids start to use tobacco products. More than 69% of students who used tobacco products reported using a flavored tobacco product in the past 30 days. Sales of flavored cigars have also increased by nearly 50% since 2008, and flavored cigars made up more than half (52.1%) of the U.S. cigar market in 2015.
"This report reinforces the urgent need for the Trump Administration to act to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes. The Lung Association also encourages further action by FDA, Congress as well as states and communities to prevent tobacco use, including prohibiting the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, increasing tobacco taxes and increasing the tobacco sales age to 21. Six million children can’t afford to wait."
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.
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 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, 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.