Eight Deaths and 500+ Medical Cases Linked to Vaping
Julie Bisbee, TSET Executive Director | September 20, 2019
The proposed ban on flavored vaping products calls attention to the rapid increase in vaping among youth. President Trump’s statements about removing flavored products is a bold step toward curbing nicotine addiction for children.
While the details of FDA’s plans to remove flavored vapor devices from the market are still developing, the President’s words call attention to a critical health issue facing America’s youth.
Flavored vaping products entice young people into a lifetime of nicotine addiction. Nationally, e-cigarette use increased by 78% from 2017 to 2018. More than a quarter of high school students used a vaping product in the last 30 days. In Oklahoma, e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product and used by 1 in 6 high school students.
In recent weeks, at least eight individuals have died and more than 500 medical cases have been filed with patients experiencing severe respiratory illness after vaping. Investigators are still determining the exact cause of those deaths, but it highlights the fact that vaping products are unregulated and additional research is needed to have an understanding of possible harms and risks.
Banning flavored vaping products makes vaping less appealing to adolescents, many of whom don’t even realize that vapor devices contain nicotine. Young people exposed to nicotine during adolescence may experience a lifetime of consequences such as higher rates of depression, anxiety and addiction. In addition, young people who vape are seven times more likely to use other forms of tobacco.
Attracting children to vapor products is in line with the deceptive and pervasive marketing practices that Big Tobacco has pushed for more than 50 years. Recent congressional testimony by JUUL executives show the vape manufacturer did presentations at high schools and used popular social media tactics to ensure that teens saw images of influencers using their product. The FDA recently sent a warning letter to JUUL, calling them out for marketing to children. Altria, maker of Marlboro and other cigarette brands, owns 35% of JUUL.
Tobacco Stops With Me, a program of TSET offers information about youth tobacco use and vaping. Tobacco Stops With Me also provides resources for parents who want to talk to their kids about vaping and the health effects it can have on developing minds and bodies.
The FDA has the authority to regulate vapor and tobacco products, and recent conversations about use of that authority is welcomed and necessary for creating a tobacco-free future.