• May 26, 2024

It’s the environment

 It’s the environment

Photo by (Mick Baker)rooster

For the fifth year in a row, electronic cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product among young people in the US, according to a note issued yesterday by the Food and Drug Administration through its Center for Tobacco Control [e-cigarettes are ‘deemed’ by the FDA to be tobacco products].

This was said to be one of the findings of the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) published in an MMWR [Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report] article, Vital Signs: Tobacco Product Use Among Middle- and High-School Students – United States, 2011-2018.

This article includes findings on current use of seven tobacco products, cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, hookah, pipe tobacco, and bidis, as well as findings on the use of multiple products and frequency of use.

‘The study authors found that in 2018, approximately five million middle- and high-school students currently used any tobacco product, with over 3.6 million currently using e-cigarettes and about half (2.5 million) currently using a combustible tobacco product, such as cigarettes and cigars,’ said the FDA in its note. ‘For the fifth year in a row, e-cigarettes continued to be the most commonly used tobacco product among US youth. Among current tobacco product users, 41.7 percent of high-school students and 33.3 percent of middle-school students used two or more tobacco products. E-cigarette and cigarette use was the most common combination among those using multiple products.

‘From 2017 to 2018, use of any tobacco product increased significantly by 38.3 percent (19.6 percent to 27.1 percent) among high-school students and by 28.6 percent (5.6 percent to 7.2 percent) among middle-school students. Current e-cigarette use increased significantly by 77.8 percent (11.7 percent to 20.8 percent) among high-school students and by 48.5 percent (3.3 percent to 4.9 percent) among middle-school students between 2017 and 2018. Furthermore, frequent e-cigarette use (more than 20 days in the past 30 days), increased significantly by 38.5 percent (20.0 percent in 2017 to 27.7 percent in 2018) among high-school students who were current e-cigarette users.

‘Due to the alarming nature of these findings, they were released early in a Notes from the Field article in Nov. 2018. The current study finds that e-cigarettes were the primary driver of the increase in current use of any tobacco product among both middle- and high-school students. During this same period, although there were no significant changes in current use of combustible tobacco products, such as cigarettes and cigars, there was a slight uptick in any combustible tobacco product use (12.9 percent to 13.9 percent) and current cigarette use (7.6 percent to 8.1 percent) among high-school students.

‘The high rates of youth tobacco use, particularly e-cigarette use, continue to be of concern to FDA. Last spring, FDA launched the Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, which aims to prevent youth access to tobacco products; curb marketing of tobacco products aimed at youth; and educate teens about the dangers of using any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, as well as educate retailers about their key role in protecting youth.

‘As part of the plan, FDA has ramped up efforts around compliance of the marketing and sales of e-cigarettes and conducted an ongoing series of enforcement actions to prevent initiation of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, by youth. FDA continues to invest in compelling, science-based campaigns to educate youth about the dangers of all tobacco products. In Sept. 2018, FDA launched the full-scale youth e-cigarette prevention effort under “The Real Cost” brand umbrella. In Nov. 2018, the concerning findings from the 2018 NYTS youth e-cigarette use data prompted FDA to outline a policy framework on actions to reduce youth e-cigarette use, targeting the central problems – youth appeal and access to flavored tobacco products.’

Meanwhile, in a statement posted on its website yesterday in response to the CDC National Youth Tobacco Survey, Altria Client Services senior vice president, corporate citizenship, Jennifer Hunter said young people shouldn’t use any tobacco products and Altria shared the FDA’s concerns with their use of e-vapor.

“We remain committed to being part of the solution,” she said. “Raising the legal age of purchase for all tobacco products to 21, which we strongly support, is the single most effective way to address underage use. We continue to meet with state and federal policy makers on this effort and stand ready to work with all interested parties.”