Vaping or the use of e-cigarettes can be a perfect way for an adult to try and slowly curb their habit of smoking by using a safer alternative that does not infringe upon their health. However, the use of vapers and vaping related products becomes a problem when they start to be used by children or teenagers. The FDA has noted that there has been a dramatic rise in e-cigarette use among the youth. Not helped with the rise in popularity of clips where individuals perform tricks with vape smoke using an e-cigarette, this begins to have an entertaining value for the American youth. This entertainment value, however, comes with hidden health risks and addiction problems that can manifest their selves later on in the individual’s lives. These outcomes not only lead to earlier deaths but they also curb one’s potential to enjoy life and also cost both the families and taxpayers large sums for healthcare.
Therefore, the solution to this rising problem would be to analyze its source, how it has evolved and try to come up with exciting strategies and programs in order to stop more and more young people from starting to use combusting and non-combusting vaping products. In order to do that, the FDA has rounded up a series of statistics on this matter and, in response to those numbers; they have also started to implement a series of programs in order to stop the rise of children vapers in the United States.
The FDA and the CDC, in their 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey, have uncovered a series of shocking statistics which reveal that there is a significant increase in e-cigarette use for youths. The data shows a staggering amount of current middle and high school students that use tobacco products in 2018 (around 4.9 million), a number which has increased from the recorded 3.6 million active users in 2017. The obvious question when faced with this data is “Why did the numbers change?”. Well, there are a couple of reasons for that.
First of all, in 2018 youths have a lot more access to e-cigarettes than they would have to traditional cigarettes. The rise of famous name brand e-cigarette products, such as the JUUL, may also be a cause. If a product is used a lot by some people, then it becomes popular, and others follow their example. Not only that, but in general middle and high school students also use more than one tobacco product, data showing that 1/3 middle school students and 2/5 high school students use at least two or more tobacco products.
So, what makes these products so attractive? The answer lays in the flavor liquids. The taste of these liquids entices preteens and teens to use them more. Popular flavors range anywhere between candy and fruit options, with many other notable additions.
The fact that so many preteens and teens use combusting and non-combusting tobacco-related products could be an indicator of more significant problems coming later on. Studies have shown that children and teens that start to use e-cigarettes at these stages in their lives are more likely to start using traditional tobacco products as young adults or as adults later on in their lives. This data was not seen for youths that started smoking traditional tobacco products or for those that did not smoke at all. Therefore, e-cigarettes then become this gateway between a safer alternative to smoking and the ugly side with its health risk and social factors.
Faced with this situation, the FDA must then come up and start implementing more preventive programs, systems, and restrictions in order to curb this sudden rise in use between 2017 and 2018. If action is not taken at this particular moment then what we could end up seeing is the fact that these numbers will only rise in 2019, with more dangerous side effects.
The FDA plan to help combat this troubling situation is being prepared and taken from a number of different perspectives. First of all, the FDA has started to have a more rigorous stance when it comes to combating illegal sales of e-cigarettes. This refers to stricter monitoring of real-life stores that provide these products and also their online alternatives. Not only that but this restriction has gone as far as to prompt Walgreens and Circle K from selling these tobacco products to minors for 30 days by making complaints. These complaints and regulations will hopefully help curb sales to minors and therefore stop them from getting nicotine products from the source.
Another way in which the FDA is trying to prevent the numbers from rising is by proposing to take new steps in banning access to flavored tobacco products. As we previously mentioned, these products are the ones that entice teens the most. This could pose a problem later on for adults who go and purchase e-cigarette products which are why the level of regulations imposed need to be carefully outlined.
FDA prevention must start in the most important place of all: in schools. This is why their recent launch of “The Real Cost” Youth E-cigarette Prevention Campaign has been so instrumental in educating students on the risks associated with using e-cigarettes and what they can then become a gateway for later on in their lives. This campaign started back in 2014, and during that time it managed to prevent more than 350 thousand teens from starting to smoke cigarettes, which then saved around 31 billion dollars in healthcare costs for youths.
They also decided to partner up with Scholastic in order to distribute e-cigarette prevention posters all around the US, in every public and private school. This type of initiative has seen results, with teachers and school officials reporting that the number of students that vape on campus has started to decrease. However, this is still the central issue in schools but these small actions to show good results.
All in all, the FDA plan to stop children vapers is still a work in progress. However, they are continually working on coming up with new ideas, projects and campaigns to begin and use in schools or at city or state levels in order to showcase the dangerous effects of e-cigarettes and stop teens from using them.