By Steven Reinberg Health Day Journalist
MONDAY, June 7, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Although the number of teens using e-cigarettes has dropped dramatically, new research suggests vaping rates are still too high.
“This study highlights that flavored electronic cigarettes, especially JUUL, caused the epidemic of e-cigarette consumption and nicotine addiction among young people in the United States and shows why the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] and other policy makers must act now to eliminate all flavored e-cigarettes, ”said Matthew Myers, chair of the Tobacco Free Kids Campaign.
To get around bans on e-cigarettes sold to children, there has been a drastic shift to fruity-flavored disposable e-cigarettes, such as Puff Bar, and pre-filled menthol cartridges, which have been left in the market by loopholes. in the American diet. and Drug Administration regulations, he said.
“It is alarming that over 7% of e-cigarette users in high school wrote in Puff Bar as their usual brand, although it was not named in the survey,” Myers said.
For the study, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveyed more than 14,500 middle and high school students about their use of e-cigarettes.
In 2019, 27.5% of high school students and 10.5% of middle school students said they used e-cigarettes. In 2020, these numbers fell to 20% of high school students and 5% of middle school students. The preferred brand of e-cigarettes was JUUL, which was used by 25% of high school vapers and 35% of college students.
Most users got their e-cigarettes from a friend (57% of high school students and 59% of middle school students), reported researchers, led by Teresa Wang, from the CDC’s Office of Smoking and Health.
Flavored e-cigarettes were far preferred by high school and college students (85% of high school students and 74% of middle school students). Fruit flavored electronic cigarettes were the most popular, followed by mint flavored electronic cigarettes. Additionally, many students have switched to disposable and rechargeable electronic cigarettes, the researchers noted.
“The evidence is clear that as long as flavored electronic cigarettes remain on the market, we will not end this epidemic of young people,” Myers said. “The FDA must act to free the market for all flavored electronic cigarettes. And it should reject JUUL’s request to continue selling its products, given the compelling evidence that JUUL has driven the e-cigarette epidemic among young people and remains very popular with children. “
Ivo Abraham, of the Center for Health Outcomes and PharmacoEconomic Research at the University of Arizona, worries that this decline in e-cigarette use is not a trend, but simply a pause in an uptrend.
“Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait two years for the next cycle to come out and really see if it’s a trend, or do we see a slight uptick,” he said. “I don’t want to be pessimistic, but I want to be careful and have my eyes open, that is, we have to continue to monitor behavior.”
Abraham is also concerned that the continued use of electronic cigarettes by children could lead to worse health habits in adulthood.
“We’re talking about a path to cigarettes and other methods. Studies show us that we now have 12-year-olds who, at 14, smoke cigarettes,” he said. “I think of vaping as a stunt, and it trickles down to cigarettes, and then it trickles down to long-term behavior, and that’s where our eyes should be too.”
Stopping the use of e-cigarettes by teens will require a combination of regulation and education that begins in elementary school, said Abraham, who co-wrote an accompanying journal editorial.
He also said preventing kids from vaping starts at home with parents.
“You have to work with parents – this is something that has to be the subject of parent-teacher conferences, communications from middle and high schools and even elementary schools to parents to involve parents, grandparents and teachers. Abraham said.
“Remember the country and western song from the 1970s, well, here’s another version: ‘Mothers, don’t let your kids grow up to be vapers,’” he said.
The report was published online on June 7 in the journal JAMA network open.
SOURCES: Ivo Abraham, PhD, Center for Health Outcomes and PharmacoEconomic Research, University of Arizona, Tucson; Matthew Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco Free Children; JAMA network open, June 7, 2021, online
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