Cigarette smoking rates continue to decline, but use of other tobacco products including flavored little cigars and e-cigarettes is threatening progress, according to a new study out today. The results from the annual "Monitoring the Future" survey released today by researchers at the University of Michigan look at the use of tobacco products and other drug use among 8th, 10th and 12th graders. Most disturbing is the high use of flavored little cigars by youth.
E-cigarette use remained at alarmingly high rates consistent with last year's prevalence rates. The study found that 9.5 percent of 8th graders, 14 percent of 10th graders and 16.2 percent of 12th graders are currently using e-cigarettes. The high use of flavored little cigars - products that look like cigarettes - is most troubling. The survey found that 11.4 percent of 12th graders used flavored little cigars in the last 30 days prior to the survey, the same rate as regular cigarettes.
"The continuing high rates of tobacco use by teens show that we cannot rest until all tobacco use among our nation's youth is eliminated," said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. "Now is the time for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to act to protect our nation's children from all tobacco products - including eliminating flavors."
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act), which became law in 2009, gave FDA immediate authority over cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. The Act also prohibited the sale of flavored cigarettes but did not act to eliminate other flavored tobacco products. The Tobacco Control Act did give FDA the ability to then assert authority or "deem" jurisdiction over all other tobacco products, including cigars, e-cigarettes, hookah and pipe tobacco - the next generation of tobacco products that are being used to target kids, but they do not yet have the authority. The final regulation giving FDA this authority is currently being reviewed by the White House Office of Management and Budget.
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.