Top US Surgeon General Warns of Teen Risks from E-Cigarettes

21 December, 2018, 04:57 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • Significant increase in e-cig use among youth prompts strong warning from US surgeon general

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The Surgeon General's Office advises parents whose kids ask about the relative hazards of vaping and smoking to dodge the question.

A survey released Monday showed 37 percent of seniors have tried vaping, up from just under 28 percent in 2017.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Tuesday issued a rare advisory calling for aggressive steps against e-cigarette use among teens, which he said has become an "epidemic". "And I don't use that word lightly", Adams added.

The advisory was prompted by the latest statistics on vaping among youths, which found e-cigarette use among high school students has increased dramatically in the past year. "For the first time in over forty years, we've seen a doubling of the rate of use of a substance in just over a year".

The devices, which are often thought of as safer alternative to cigarettes, are not harmless, the advisory noted.

Numerous devices used to consume e-cigarette products attract teens because they're easy to hide. Even if e-cigarettes are healthier than regular cigarettes, one cartridge still contains about as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes, making it particularly risky for the bodies of developing youth.

"One of the most commonly sold USB flash drive shaped e-cigarettes is JUUL, which experienced a 600 percent surge in sales during 2016-2017, giving it the greatest market share of any e-cigarette in the U.S.by the end of 2017", the advisory said.

He said nicotine use while young can increase a person's chances of developing a mental health condition or a cognitive issue like Alzheimer's later in life.

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The Food and Drug Administration has announced a series of moves, including proposals that would keep most flavored vape products out of reach for teenagers and efforts to limit online sales.

Federal officials singled out Juul electronic cigarettes for fueling the epidemic, noting that the sleek devices are by far the most popular electronic cigarettes among young people.

Nicotine is not only extremely addictive, but it is risky in its own right.

Dangers of e-cigarettes include harm to learning, memory, and attention, and putting kids at risk of future addiction. But as Surgeon General, he takes on the official role as the nation's top doctor and adviser on health matters. That correlation strongly suggests that young people who would otherwise be smoking are vaping instead, which represents a huge improvement in terms of health risks.

Governments also need to restrict advertising, he said. Federal law bars the sale of e-cigarettes to those under 18.

Doctors at the MD Anderson Cancer Center applauded Adams' statement.

The company defended its products, saying it has taken steps to prevent young people from using them.

One college is already acting.

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