US Surgeon General Proclaims E-Cigarette Use an Epidemic Among Youth

by | December 18, 2018

Today, US Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams issued a rare public health Advisory declaring the use of e-cigarettes an “epidemic among our nation’s young people.” The Advisory, prompted by alarming rates of e-cigarette use by youth in the US, provides information to parents, educators, and health professionals on new types of e-cigarettes on the market, including JUUL, and the negative health consequences of youth use of these products.

The Advisory follows other administrative initiatives aimed at stopping use of, and access to, JUUL and other e-cigarette products. In July 2017, FDA announced a comprehensive regulatory plan for tobacco and nicotine to reduce tobacco-related disease and death. As a part of that comprehensive plan, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD released a statement on new enforcement actions and a Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan to prevent youth access to and use of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. In the statement, FDA also announced its intention to implement regulations that would reduce the nicotine content in cigarettes to minimally or non-addictive levels.

ASAM applauds the Surgeon General for recognizing the urgency of youth use of e-cigarettes and providing guidance to parents, educators, and health professionals on what they can do to protect young people from the risks of e-cigarettes. In April, ASAM issued a Public Policy Statement on E-Cigarettes. The policy statement echoes the concerns raised by the Surgeon General in his Advisory and includes recommendations to policymakers on actions they can take reduce and prevent e-cigarette use and improve public health.