Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids

Published by The Bee News

August 27, 2020

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CDC Survey Finds Nearly a Third of High School Students Used E-Cigarettes in 2019 – It’s Time to Eliminate the Flavored Products Addicting Kids 

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids 

WASHINGTON, DC – The 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) results released today by the CDC are a powerful reminder of the severity of the youth e-cigarette epidemic and demonstrate that it is as urgent as ever that policymakers eliminate the flavored, nicotine-loaded products that have addicted millions of kids.

Following the 2019 Monitoring the Future survey and the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey, this is the third national survey to show that youth e-cigarette use skyrocketed between 2017 and 2019. The YRBS found that 32.7% of high school students were current e-cigarette users in 2019, up from 13.2% in 2017. Alarmingly, nearly a third of these youth e-cigarette users reported frequent use (on at least 20 days a month), which is a strong sign of addiction. Indeed, nearly 11% of all high school students used e-cigarettes at least 20 days a month, compared to less than 2% for regular cigarettes, indicating that e-cigarettes are now addicting far more kids to nicotine than cigarettes.

The cause of this youth addiction crisis couldn’t be clearer: E-cigarette makers like Juul and it copycats have lured kids with appealing flavors and hooked them with massive doses of nicotine. Juul and other e-cigarettes deliver as much, if not more, nicotine as a whole pack of 20 cigarettes. Flavors play a critical role in attracting kids, as 97% of youth e-cigarette users report using a flavored product in the past month and 70% cite flavors as a key reason for their use.

The solution to this crisis is also clear: Policymakers at all levels must eliminate the flavored products that are luring and addicting our kids. To date, four states – Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island – and a growing number of cities and counties have ended the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes (Massachusetts and some localities have ended the sale of all flavored tobacco products). In contrast, the Trump Administration broke its promise to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes, leaving thousands of flavored products for sale.

The FDA has another critical opportunity to protect our kids because e-cigarette makers face a court-ordered September 9 deadline to apply to the agency and demonstrate a public health benefit in order to keep their products on the market. The FDA must use this process to stop the sale of flavored and high-nicotine products – including Juul – that put our kids at risk.

As the CDC reminded us today, e-cigarettes pose serious threats to the health of our kids. The CDC report states, “Nicotine is highly addictive, can harm the developing adolescent brain, and can prime the brain for addiction to other drugs. In addition, a growing body of scientific literature suggests that youths who use e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke conventional cigarettes in the future.”

CA poised to ban flavored tobacco, sets example for other states amid COVID-19 crisis.
This is huge. California lawmakers just unanimously passed a bill ending the sale of flavored tobacco products!

Let me say that again: California, home to over 10% of the U.S. population, just delivered a resounding victory for kids and public health. Once the state Senate gives its expected final approval and Gov. Newsom signs the bill, flavored e-cigarettes, flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes will soon be off the shelves statewide. These are products the tobacco industry uses to lure our kids, products that are fueling the youth nicotine addiction crisis. No more in California. And no more targeting of Black Americans and other vulnerable communities with deadly menthol cigarettes.

How did we do it? Advocates like YOU joined our call. They made their voices heard to lawmakers and stepped up to support this campaign all along the way. In the face of Big Tobacco’s multimillion dollar barrage of lies, it was everyday people – concerned parents, youth, educators, healthcare professionals, and more – who made sure our message was the one that broke through. And we can’t thank you enough.

This big win in California comes on the heels of victories in Massachusetts (which eliminated all flavored tobacco products) and New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island (which eliminated flavored e-cigarettes) – plus a ton of cities who have passed restrictions on flavored products.

We have the momentum, and we’re working across the country to seize it – because the timing couldn’t be more critical. Health experts continue to warn that smokers and vapers are at higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19.

The big question now is: Which state will be next?!

Dave Lemmon

Director of Media Relations

Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids

1400 I Street NW, Suite 1200

Washington, DC 20005

Direct: 202-481-9330

Mobile: 202-738-7983

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