Let the North Carolina trial settlement be a promise of good things on the horizon when it comes to shutting down the campaign to attract young people to vaping.
E-cigarette company Juul Labs will pay North Carolina $ 40 million to settle a lawsuit over teen vaping. It was announced last week that the company must also take more action to prevent use and sales by minors in the state under the terms.
That’s good news for North Carolina teens and children across the country, as other states, including Minnesota, have sued Juul to prevent it from targeting sales to young people.
If you think that the growing use of e-cigarettes by teenagers is primarily a problem in the South, with a tobacco tradition tied to the region’s history and economy, think again. In Minnesota, 19.3% of high school students use electronic cigarettes; the national rate is 19.6%, according to Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
The 2019 Minnesota Student Survey found that one in four Grade 11 students reported having recently used an e-cigarette. This is a 54% increase from the 2016 student survey. The 2019 survey, which is the most recent, also found that young people in Minnesota are uninformed about the potential risks to life. vaping health.
Just like traditional cigarettes, electronic cigarettes contain harmful substances, including nicotine, an addictive chemical. The use of e-cigarettes by teenagers soared by more than 70% after the launch of Juul in 2015, reports the Associated Press, leading the United States Food and Drug Administration to declare an “epidemic” of vaping in adolescents. According to the American Lung Association, electronic cigarettes are the most common tobacco product used by young people and have been for several years.
If the outbreak is to be brought under control, Juul and other e-cigarette companies must stop targeting young people as customers. From menthol flavored products to discreet vaping devices that look like USB sticks, vaping companies know that tapping into the youth market pays off.
For young people, the price is their health, including lung damage and the effects on brain development. The public is paying for these long-term health effects through higher insurance rates as a new generation grapples with drug addiction and its associated harms.
Fortunately, the North Carolina settlement is a signal of possible positive progress ahead, including action in Minnesota to help stop this epidemic of youth health.