U.S. Surgeon General: Any E-Cigarette Use by Youth is Dangerous

New Monitoring the Future Survey results confirm epidemic status; FDA's partial solution to e-cigarettes among youth not nearly enough; States and localities must act

Statement of American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer in response to U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams's Advisory on E-Cigarette Use Among Youth released today:

"The American Lung Association applauds U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams for the timely release of his Advisory on E-Cigarette Use Among Youth. The Advisory, prompted by skyrocketing rates of e-cigarette use by our nation's youth from 2017 to 2018, is an important warning for parents, educators and health professionals about new types of e-cigarettes on the market, including JUUL and look-a-like products, and the negative health consequences of youth use of these products. Specifically, the Surgeon General said, any use of e-cigarettes among youth is dangerous, the American Lung Association strongly agrees with this statement, and calls for immediate actions by key stakeholders, including states and communities to protect children.

"The U.S. Surgeon General is correct that e-cigarette use among youth has become an epidemic in the U.S. Results from the 2018 Monitoring the Future Survey released yesterday (December 17) confirm this conclusion showing e-cigarette use rising a staggering 90 percent among 12th graders (from 11.0 to 20.9 percent), 96 percent among 10th graders (from 8.2 to 16.1 percent), and 74 percent among 8th graders (from 3.5 to 6.1 percent). According to the survey's researchers, this is the largest increase in the survey's 40-plus-year history for any adolescent substance use outcome in the U.S.

"In light of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) failure to take meaningful action, it is clear that states and localities must act to protect our nation's youth. In his advisory, the Surgeon General lays out a set of bold actions that states and localities can and should take, including adding e-cigarettes to smokefree air laws, increasing the price of e-cigarettes and restricting youth access to flavored e-cigarettes. 

"However, this does not absolve FDA from taking action. FDA must take immediate steps to fully enforce its 2016 'deeming' rule and remove all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes, from the market.

"Our nation no longer has time for partial solutions. The Surgeon General has made it clear that urgent action is needed; the health of our children is at stake."

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.  For additional materials about e-cigarettes, visit Lung.org/ecigs.

For more information, contact:

Allison MacMunn
[email protected]

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