CHICAGO, AK | October 1, 2015
Two new articles were published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about youth tobacco use. Both highlight the urgent need for the Obama Administration to allow FDA to issue its long-overdue final rule giving the agency authority to protect the public and our nation’s youth from these unregulated tobacco products. Currently, FDA has no authority over many types of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, hookah and cigars.
The first of the two studies found that 7 out of 10 middle and high school students who currently use tobacco have used at least one flavored tobacco product in the last 30 days. Among youth recently using tobacco products, 63 percent had smoked a flavored e-cigarette, 60.6 percent had smoked flavored hookah tobacco, 63.5 percent had used a flavored cigar, 58.8 percent had used flavored smokeless tobacco and 53.6 percent had used menthol cigarettes. About 18 percent of all high school students reported using at least one flavored tobacco product in the past 30 days, far more than the 5.8 percent who reported using only non-flavored products.
“The Tobacco Control Act immediately prohibited flavored cigarettes, because it was very clear these products are targeting kids,” said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “There is no question: tobacco companies are using candy- and fruit-flavored tobacco products to addict our children.”
The second study reveals new data indicating that many youth e-cigarette users aren’t just experimenting with these new products, but using them on a regular basis. Among current high school students, 42 percent of those who use smokeless tobacco do so frequently, and 31.6 percent who use cigarettes do so frequently. Even more troubling was the percentage of students who regularly use two or more tobacco products. Over three-quarters of both cigar smokers (77.3%) and cigarette smokers (76.9%), and over half (54.8%) of e-cigarette users reported duel use of at least one other tobacco product.
“We simply cannot allow another generation of youth to get hooked on tobacco and nicotine, lured with flavors like gummy bear and bubble gum,” said Wimmer. “These results demonstrate an urgent need for FDA to end the sale of flavored tobacco products, and to halt the tobacco industry’s decades-old practice of targeting youth.”
The 2014 Surgeon General’s report found that nicotine has a negative impact on adolescent brain development, and has been associated with lasting cognitive and behavioral impairments, including effects on working memory and attention.
“There is not a safe tobacco product out there, and youth are especially at risk from the nicotine present in all of these tobacco products,” said Wimmer. “We need the White House to give FDA the authority to protect our kids now.”
The articles were published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health, tobacco use and tobacco policies, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7628.
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 research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit the newly redesigned Lung.org.
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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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