This month, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a significant advisory focused on e-cigarette use among youth, calling it an epidemic that requires immediate action now.
The advisory cites statistics that show skyrocketing use of e-cigarettes by youth and highlights the potential harm caused by aerosol exposure, nicotine addiction, and exposure to heavy metals, organic compounds and ultrafine particles.
The Surgeon General also cites the role of flavors, specifically noting that Juul is a particular problem because of its design, high level of nicotine delivery, and popularity among youth.
The Surgeon General notes that aggressive action must be taken and provides recommendations for parents, teachers, health professionals and states and communities. For the latter, it is recommended that State, Communities, Tribes and Territories:
- Implement evidence-based population-level strategies to reduce e-cigarette use among young people, such as including e-cigarettes in smoke-free indoor air policies, restricting young peoples’ access to e-cigarettes in retail settings, licensing retailers, implementing price policies, and developing educational initiatives targeting young people.
- Implement strategies to curb e-cigarette advertising and marketing that are appealing to young people.
- Implement strategies to reduce access to flavored tobacco products by young people.