Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, New Study Shows U.S. is Still Grappling with Youth Vaping Crisis

New CDC study shows urgent need for FDA, states to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes

In response to an article today in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) “Tobacco Product Use Among High School Students—Youth Risk Behavior Survey, United States, 2019,” Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association, issued the following statement

“The new youth tobacco use data released today from CDC’s 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey confirm that our nation is facing multiple public health crises simultaneously: the COVID-19 pandemic, continued racial health equity disparities, and a youth vaping crisis. In 2019, use of e-cigarettes among high school students was 32.7% - a substantial increase from 13.2% in 2017. The dramatic increase in youth vaping led to a near doubling of overall tobacco product use among high school students from 19.5% in 2017 to 36.5% in 2019.

“We need look no further for the cause of this spike than the rise of JUUL and now Puff Flow and Vuse, and the continued sale and proliferation of flavored tobacco products, including flavored vaping devices. The tobacco industry has long used flavored tobacco products as starter products for kids and continues with flavored e-cigarettes today.  And these data show that e-cigarette companies, many of which are owned by major tobacco companies, have successfully used Big Tobacco’s playbook to hook another generation of America’s kids.

“Flavors are known to lure and hook kids to a lifetime of tobacco addiction, and we see this reflected in the continued spike of the amount of youth vaping. To protect kids, the American Lung Association has long called for menthol cigarettes and all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to be removed from the marketplace. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a unique opportunity to reverse this spike in youth use, by denying any flavored tobacco product permission to remain on the market when it reviews the applications due to the agency on September 9. In the meantime, our states and communities must act to fill the void left by FDA’s failure to take action by passing state and local laws to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products.” 

For media interested in speaking with an expert, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7629.

For more information, contact:

Elizabeth Cook
[email protected]

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