New research shows that 40.5% of high-school seniors have tried nicotine vaping, adding urgency to President Trump’s announcement that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will take action to ban the e-cigarette flavorings that have proved so attractive to teens and young adults. Meanwhile, federal health agencies are encouraging physicians to report detailed information on cases of vaping-associated lung illnesses. Here’s what doctors need to know.
Vaping is taking off among kids. A national survey of 42,531 eighth–12th graders finds that 25.4% of high-school seniors have vaped nicotine in the last month, while 20.2% of 10th graders and 9% of eighth-graders have done so.
And while about 40% of 12th-graders have ever used a nicotine e-cigarette, 36.4% of 10th graders have vaped and 20.7% of eighth-graders have used an e-cigarette, says the survey, “Trends in Adolescent Vaping, 2017–2019,” published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
All of these figures have grown dramatically since 2017, the survey found, with past-month nicotine vaping skyrocketing 131% among 12th-graders in just two years.
It’s way past time to eliminate e-cigarette flavorings. The medical community has long called on the FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, especially the marketing practices that enhance the appeal of e-cigarette products to youth.
“With soaring numbers of America’s youth using e-cigarette products, we are hopeful that the administration will now speed up e-cigarette regulations and remove all unregulated and unapproved products from the market,” AMA president Dr. Patrice A. Harris, MD recently said in a statement.
The AMA House of Delegates has declared the skyrocketing use of e-cigarettes to be an “urgent public health epidemic” and urged the FDA to take action to address it.
Vaping-related lung illnesses have struck hundreds, killing seven. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 805 cases of lung injury in 46 states and one U.S. territory. The CDC has confirmed twelve deaths in ten states.
Colorado health officials reported on September 25, that the number of people in the state with a severe vaping-related illness had reached six, with four of the individuals hospitalized.
“As our outbreak report shows, this illness is affecting mostly young Coloradans who reported vaping either marijuana, nicotine or both,” Dr. Daniel Shodell, deputy director of disease control and environmental epidemiology at the state health department, said in a statement.
“Our advice has not changed: We want people to quit vaping until we have a clear understanding of what is causing this illness,” Shodell said.
While most of the patients affected used e-cigarette products with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), some of the patients reported vaping only nicotine. The CDC is regularly providing updates on the outbreak.
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