WASHINGTON, DC | September 21, 2019
In a letter to President Trump, 56 public health, medical, parent, educational and other organizations today expressed strong support for the Administration’s plan to remove flavored e-cigarettes from the market and urged that the plan be swiftly and fully implemented. A similar letter was sent to First Lady Melania Trump, who has raised alarms about the youth e-cigarette epidemic and supported efforts to remove flavored e-cigarettes from the market.
In response to new data showing that the youth e-cigarette epidemic has gotten even worse this year and 5 million U.S. kids now use e-cigarettes, the Administration on September 11 announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will soon issue a final policy to “clear the market” of flavored e-cigarettes – including mint and menthol as these two flavors are used by 64 percent of high school e-cigarette users. The Administration stated that the FDA will issue the policy within weeks and enforce it a month later.
“Our organizations commend and fully support your plan to remove all non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes from the market, including mint and menthol flavors. If this plan is swiftly and fully implemented, it will play a critical role in reversing the youth e-cigarette epidemic,” the letter to the President states.
Results of two newly-released national surveys show the youth e-cigarette epidemic is worse than ever and is putting millions of kids at risk of nicotine addiction and other health dangers.
• According to the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey (2019 NYTS), e-cigarette use among high school students increased to 27.5% in 2019, up from 20.8% in 2018 and 11.7% in 2017. Altogether, 5 million middle and high school students – including more than 1 in 4 of all high school students – now use e-cigarettes.
• Similarly, the 2019 Monitoring the Future survey showed that 25.4% of 12th graders report vaping nicotine in the past 30 days, compared to 20.9% in 2018 and 11% in 2017. Alarmingly, 1 in 9 of all high school seniors (11.7%) report that they vaped nicotine nearly daily, a strong indication of addiction.
The evidence is clear that flavors play a critical role in youth use of e-cigarettes. Research has found that nearly all (97%) current youth e-cigarette users use flavored e-cigarettes and 70% cite flavors as a key reason for their use. The 2019 NYTS found that 63.9% of high school e-cigarette users use mint or menthol-flavored products, an increase from 51.2% in 2018 and 42.3% in 2017.
Adding to the urgent need to protect kids, health authorities are currently investigating at least 530 cases of serious respiratory illnesses associated with use of e-cigarette products in 38 states, with 9 deaths now reported. Many cases involve teens and young adults.
In their letter to First Lady Melania Trump, the organizations thanked her for raising the alarm about the youth e-cigarette epidemic. The First Lady joined the President in the Oval Office for the announcement of the new policy to remove flavored e-cigarettes from the market, and she recently tweeted, “I am deeply concerned about the growing epidemic of e-cigarette use in our children. We need to do all we can to protect the public from tobacco-related disease and death, and prevent e-cigarettes from becoming an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.”
Here is the list of groups signing the letter to the President:
Academy of General Dentistry
Action on Smoking and Health
African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council
Allergy & Asthma Network
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
American Academy of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Association for Cancer Research
American Association for Respiratory Care
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American College of Cardiology
American College of Physicians
American College of Preventive Medicine
American Dental Association
American Federation of School Administrators
American Federation of Teachers
American Heart Association
American Lung Association
American Medical Student Association
American Public Health Association
American School Health Association
American Society of Clinical Oncology
American Thoracic Society
Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health
Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Catholic Health Association of the United States
Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America
Eta Sigma Gamma – National Health Education Honorary
International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer
March of Dimes
National African American Tobacco Prevention Network
National Association of County and City Health Officials
National Association of Elementary School Principals
National Association of School Nurses
National Association of Secondary School Principals
National Education Association
National Hispanic Medical Association
National Network of Public Health Institutes
Oncology Nursing Society
Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes (PAVe)
Protect Kids: Fight Flavored E-Cigarettes
Public Health Law Center
Public Health Solutions
Respiratory Health Association
Society for Public Health Education
Students Against Destructive Decisions
The Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education
Society of Thoracic Surgeons
Trust for America’s Health
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.
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