– EN Fitness & Wellbeing – U.S. experts have warned tougher regulations on vaping products are needed after a surge in teenagers using e-cigarettes.
An estimated 4.9 million American teens used the tobacco vaporisers in 2018, according to figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The figure represents an increase of 1.3 million teenage users in just one year.
The surge in vaping among U.S. high school students has been so strong, it has even reversed the downward trend in all tobacco use among young people that has continually decreased since 2011.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), warned his agency would move to curb the alarming rise in e-cigarette use.
“No child should be using any tobacco or nicotine-containing product and we’re committed to reversing this epidemic,” he said in a press release published on the CDC website. “We’ll continue to take a series of escalating regulatory actions to try to address the root causes of this spike in youth e-cigarette use, in particular by ensuring these products are sold in ways that make them less accessible and appealing to youth.”
Although initially used as a device to help wean older users off cigarettes, vaping has since become popular among teens with the introduction of sleek designs, like the Juul vaporisers, the most popular in the U.S., and sweet flavours. A number of major tobacco companies have also begun investing in e-cigarette producers, with Altria (formerly Philip Morris) taking a 35 per cent stake in Juul last year (18).
However, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said that the trend towards e-cigarette use is not keeping young people safe from harmful tobacco products – and risked reversing decades of progress made by anti-smoking campaigns.
“The skyrocketing growth of young people’s e-cigarette use over the past year threatens to erase progress made in reducing youth tobacco use,” he warned. “It’s putting a new generation at risk for nicotine addiction.”