The United States is experiencing a surge in vaping. The trend does not only affect adults but also exposes teenagers to e-smoking. According to the Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, the country is in a crisis that should get a solution urgently. Though the advisory does not have legal backing, it is an alarm to the Food and Drug Administration to take the necessary measures to protect the teens.”I am officially declaring e-cigarette use among youth an epidemic in the United States,” Adams said at a news conference. He said the time was ripe for all the stakeholders to take stun measures.
What harm does nicotine do?
Nicotine affects the process of brain development in adolescents. The chemicals in e-cigarette are also addictive and can cause irreversible health complications. Prefrontal cortex controls judgment and impulse. Flooding this part of the brain with the cigarette chemical can lead to hyperactivity, depression, and anxiety according to Dr. Picciotto.
The dominant manufacturer, Juul, has been pointed out for its high nicotine content in their e-cigarette. The type of nicotine used in Juul product is less unpleasant to non-habitual smokers. Therefore, the e-cigarette has attracted a high number of consumers over the past few years. The Surgeon General took note of the skyrocketing consumption of Juul between 2016 and 2017. According to the report, there was a six times increase in vaping between the two years.
Jerome Adams called upon parents, teachers, and other stakeholders to educate teenagers on the lurking dangers of tobacco use. The local authorities were also requested to issue indoor vaping bans which would further help curb the epidemic. According to Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, this was an unprecedented challenge. “We have never seen use of any substance by America’s young people rise this rapidly”, said Azar.
The Surgeon General also called for hefty taxes, age limits, and controlled retail of e-cigarette. It is now upon the FDA to put the advisory into action. Though Adams has no legal mandate to enforce the restrictions, his advice has a weighty impact on the actions the regulators will take.
According to research sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 2018, 21% of high school students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grade had vaped in the previous 30 days. The statistics are evidence of the soaring figures of e-smoking every year. In 2017, only 11 percent of high school students confessed to having used e-cigarette. A government study conducted towards the end of 2018 indicated that more than 3.6 million teenagers were hooked to e-smoking.
In response to the allegations of fuelling e-smoking among the young people, Juul said they were taking all the necessary measures. Victoria Davis, the Juul spokesperson, noted that they were putting in place strategies to ensure the youths were not accessing the sleek devices online. She also noted that they had stopped distributing some flavors in local retails. However, it is yet to be seen how effective the measures will be.
The devices come in packages that are appealing to millennial. As people who have grown around gadgets, the invention has hooked many into e-smoking.
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