U.S. surgeon general warns of teenage risks from e-cigarettes

Significant increase in e-cig use among youth prompts strong warning from US surgeon general

US surgeon general urges crackdown on e-cigarettes 'epidemic' among teenagers

Surgeon General Jerome Adams officially declared e-cigarettes an epidemic in the US.

"We must take aggressive steps to protect our children from these highly potent products that risk exposing a new generation of young people to nicotine".

The CDC says that nicotine can harm the brain development of young people.

The percentage of U.S. high school senior students using e-cigarettes almost doubled from 2017, according to a new survey released Monday by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.

While e-cigarettes might help some adult smokers quit using the more risky combustible tobacco cigarettes, they're of no benefit at all to teens, the FDA and Adams say. An estimated 3.6 million United States teens are now using e-cigarettes, representing 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle schoolers, according to the latest federal figures.

The survey found that the percentage of all high school students who used e-cigarettes has risen by a third over the past year. These "harmful substances", even when they can be detected in e-cigarette aerosol, are typically present at very low levels, which is one reason vaping is so much less hazardous than smoking.

The devices, which are often thought of as safer alternative to cigarettes, are not harmless, the advisory noted. He links to an FDA "fact sheet" that claims the "e-cigarette use surge" led to an "uptick in overall tobacco use" by teenagers, as if vaping and smoking are interchangeable from a public health perspective.

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Adams singled out the e-cigarette product Juul for special condemnation because it appears to be highly popular with teenagers.

The same can be said of Adams' fearmongering about the dangers that e-cigarettes pose to vapers. Analysts now estimate the company controls more than 75 percent of the USA e-cigarette market.

"We do know that these newer products, such as Juul, can promote dependence in just a few uses", Adams said.

Last month, San Francisco-based Juul shut down its Facebook and Instagram accounts and halted in-store sales of its flavored pods.

In a statement the company said: "We are committed to preventing youth access to Juul products". The flavors remain available via age-restricted online sales.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has imposed fines on e-cigarette retailers for unlawfully selling e-cigarette products to minors.

Experts attributed the increase to newer versions of e-cigarettes which look like computer flash drives and can be used discreetly, according to the Associated Press (AP).

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