After the release of new data by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its sturdiest condemnation on teen vaping.
The new CDC report says that one in five teens (high schoolers) took up vaping in 2018, which is a significant jump from 2017.
Scott Gottlieb, the FDA chief, said teen vaping is one of the biggest public health challenges in U.S.
The data came from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, a large representative survey of middle school and high school students across the U.S. In 2017, over 17,000 students from more than 240 schools participated in the survey.
In November 2018, the CDC released the findings of the survey, which estimated that more than 3.6 million teenagers vaped at least once in the past 30 days during 2018. On Monday, the CDC released the report that puts the trend of teen vaping against the backdrop of overall tobacco use.
In spite of the fact that e-cigarettes do not actually contain tobacco, the FDA and CDC consider them a tobacco product. Having said that, e-cigarettes contain nicotine that is derived from the tobacco plant, although not from the same sort of tobacco smokers lit up.
According to the CDC, there were nearly 5 million users of tobacco products in 2018. One in four high schoolers and one in 14 middle schoolers used tobacco products.
The figures represents a 38 percent jump when compared with figures in 2017, entirely due to e-cigarettes. It is a bit tough to say how many teens were vaping regularly. However, according to the CDC, the percentage of teenagers who used e-cigarettes frequently also jumped in 2018, from 20 percent to 28 percent.
While e-cigarettes are less likely harmful than conventional cigarettes, the FDA and some other agencies have suggested that teens using e-cigs can eventually switch to conventional cigarettes. If that happens, it would reverse a steady decline in smoking rate, which has been one of the major public health victories so far.
Scott Gottlieb stated, “We must stop the trends of youth e-cigarette use from continuing to build and will take whatever action is necessary to ensure these kids don’t become future smokers.”
Last November, the FDA, in association with the CDC’s release on teen vaping data, announced that it would act on heavy restrictions on flavored e-cig products sold in stores.
Last week, the FDA instigated an enforcement action against Walmart and Circle K stores for selling tobacco products to minors. Also, the drug regulatory body has put Walgreens on notice.
Gottlieb said he would arrange a meeting with retail stores to discuss its recurrent violations on selling tobacco products to teens.
While the FDA chief did assert that e-cigs could still play a pivotal role in bringing down overall smoking rates, he also restated that “the FDA will not allow that opportunity to come at the expense of addicting a whole new generation of kids to nicotine. We must close the on-ramp of nicotine addiction for kids even if it risks narrowing the off-ramp from smoking for adults.”