Surgeon General Reports Youth and Young Adult E-Cigarette Use Poses a Public Health Threat-Issues call to action to reduce e-cigarette use among young people

On Thursday December 8th the newest report released from the U.S. Surgeon General raises public health concerns about e-cigarette use among youth and young adults. The report comes amid alarming rates of youth and young adult use of e-cigarettes; in 2015, about 1 in 6 high school students used an e-cigarette in the past month. While in Wilkes County according about 1 in 4 high school students have tried and e-cigarette in the past month.

The report finds that, while nicotine is a highly addictive drug at any age, youth and young adults are vulnerable to the long-term effects of exposing the brain to nicotine, and concludes that youth use of nicotine in any form is unsafe. The report also finds that secondhand aerosol or smoke that is exhaled into the air by e-cigarette users can expose others to potentially harmful chemicals.

This report, is the first comprehensive federal review of the public health impact of e-cigarettes on youth and young adults. These devices are referred to as “e-cigarettes,” “e-cigs,” “cigalikes,” “e-hookahs,” “mods,” “vape pens,” “vapes,” and “tank systems.” The report uses the term “e-cigarette” to represent all of the products in this rapidly growing and changing product category. In addition to finding health risks of e-cigarettes among young people, the report also describes influences on e-cigarette use and actions to help prevent the harmful effects of using e-cigarettes.

“Everyone needs to know that e-cigarettes are dangerous to youth and young adults,” said Ann Absher, Wilkes County Health Director. “Any tobacco use, including e-cigarettes, is a health threat, particularly to young people.”

Major Conclusions from the Report

  • E-cigarettes are a rapidly emerging and diversified class of products typically delivering nicotine, flavorings, and other additives to users via inhaled aerosol.
  • E-cigarette use among youth and young adults has become a public health concern.
  • E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among youth. E-cigarette use is strongly associated with the use of other tobacco products among youth and young adults, including combustible tobacco products such as cigarettes.
  • The use of products containing nicotine poses dangers to youth, pregnant women and fetuses. The use of products containing nicotine in any form among youth, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe.
  • E-cigarette aerosol is not harmless. It can contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredients, including nicotine.
  • E-cigarettes are marketed by promoting flavors and using a wide variety of media channels and approaches that have been used in the past for marketing conventional tobacco products to youth and young adults.
  • Action can be taken at the national, state and local levels to reduce youth and young adult use of e-cigarettes.

“We need parents, teachers, health care providers, and others to help make it clear that e-cigarettes contain harmful chemicals and are not okay for kids to use” Mrs. Absher said. “This report gives facts about how these products can be harmful to young people’s health.”

If you would like more information concerning this Surgeon General’s Report on Youth and Young Adult E-Cigarette please click here. If you would like to review the report, please click here.