Respiratory Health Association (RHA) applauds the expected FDA action to ban sales of most flavored e-cigarettes in convenience stores and gas stations across the country.
Vaping devices, such as the widely popularized Juul, have become a mainstay in places of education, with 42.2 percent of U.S. high school students having used an e-cigarette. Recent data show e-cigarette use skyrocketed among youth, prompting Commissioner Gottlieb to declare youth use of e-cigarettes an “epidemic”.
The increased use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices by youth poses a grave public health concern. These products are unregulated and contain nicotine, heavy metals, ultrafine particles, and other carcinogens. They have not been proven safe – especially for young people. They are not an FDA-approved tobacco cessation product, and e-cigarette vapor is not just water vapor, despite what some may claim.
Flavored tobacco products appeal to youth. According to data from 2013-2014, 4 out of 5 youth who tried tobacco started by using a flavored product. Flavors can also alter youth perception of the dangers of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, which results in increased use of these products. Studies show that flavored tobacco products serve as starter products for many smokers, which lead to nicotine addiction and can serve as a gateway to traditional tobacco use.
Restricted access is a proven strategy and logical step for discouraging youth from using these products. These actions will saves lives and bring us one step closer to a tobacco-free generation.
Respiratory Health Association has submitted public comments and testimony to the federal government regarding the impact of flavored tobacco and vaping products. We remain committed to taking action to reduce youth use of all tobacco products including e-cigarettes.