Keeping e-cig products out the hands of our youth
Recently, the commissioner from the Food and Drug Administration released a statement that the FDA is considering a policy change that would remove flavored electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes from stores. This announcement is a result of preliminary data that indicates a spike in e-cigarette use among teenagers.
As the state agency charged with the mission to protect and improve the health of all people in the State of Washington, this is both great news and a positive step in the right direction.
The long-term health impacts of e-cigarettes are still unknown. However, these products do contain nicotine and this is a concern because of the addictive nature and the damaging effects the drug has on adolescent brain development.
We are facing an epidemic of e-cigarette use among teenagers. E-cigarette devices like Juul have exploded with popularity since its introduction. This particular device resembles a USB flash drive and comes in a range of flavors that has fueled its popularity among youth.
According to a national study, 81 percent of youth 12–17 who had tried an e-cigarette for the first time smoked a flavored e-cigarette, and more than 80 percent of current youth e-cigarette users said they used these devices because of the variety of flavors.
According to the 2016 Healthy Youth Survey, cigarette use among adolescents is declining; however, marketing campaigns for electronic cigarettes targeting adolescents continues. Measures that would reduce the appeal of these products, like banning flavors and increasing the sales age to 21, would prevent a new generation of kids from becoming addicted to nicotine.
Below are some helpful resources for more information about e-cigarettes:
- Information about vapor products on our website.
- Know the Risks: E-Cigarettes and Young People.
- Learn about e-cigarettes shaped like USB flash drives.
- Find information for teens who use tobacco products, including quit tips.
- Basic information about e-cigarettes.
- JUUL and Youth: Rising E-Cigarette Popularity.
- Recently developed prevention module on Juul from Stanford University.
If you are looking to quit tobacco, visit DOH’s tobacco cessation page for information and resources, including the Washington State Tobacco Quitline (1–800-QUIT-NOW) and the 2MorrowQuitTM app.
Dave Johnson is a public information officer with the Washington State Department Health.