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New CDC Study Shows Youth E-Cigarette Use Tripled in One Year; Highlights Urgent Need for FDA Regulation of All Tobacco Products

One in Four High School Students Use At Least One Tobacco Product

Chicago, IL (April 16, 2015)

A new study released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a dramatic increase in use of e-cigarettes and hookah by youth. These tobacco products are unregulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). E-cigarette use among both high school and middle school students has tripled in one year, increasing from 4.5 percent in 2013 to 13.4 percent in 2014 among high school students, and from 1.1 percent in 2013 to 3.9 percent in 2014 among middle school students. The results show that in only a few years of being on the market, youth use of e-cigarettes has now surpassed youth cigarette smoking. 

The study, which summarizes results from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey and was published in CDC’s April 17 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, also found that 24.6 percent of all high school students and 7.7 percent of all middle school students use at least one tobacco product and almost half use at least two tobacco products. Hookah use more than doubled among middle school students and almost doubled among high school students in just one year. While the study also shows that cigarette and cigar use both declined from 2013 to 2014, those declines were offset by the dramatic increase in use of e-cigarettes and hookah.

This new study is the latest in a series of studies over the past year that show an increase in youth use of e-cigarettes and other unregulated tobacco products. It also highlights the urgent need for President Obama’s leadership in ensuring his Administration finalizes the "deeming" regulation that would give the FDA Center for Tobacco Products the same authority it currently has over cigarettes to e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah and other unregulated tobacco products.                                                                                                                    

“Previous studies should have served as warning bells to the federal government that FDA oversight of all tobacco products was urgently needed,” said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “Today’s study highlights the consequences of allowing these products to remain without oversight.”

“April 25 will mark the one year anniversary from when FDA’s proposed rule was released, and over four years after FDA first announced its plan to oversee cigars, e-cigarettes and hookah,” added Wimmer. “It is time for the Obama Administration to act with urgency.”

These disturbing findings show the results of the tobacco industry’s continued efforts to target youth, who are especially at risk from the effects of tobacco and nicotine. The U.S. Surgeon General has determined that nicotine has a negative impact on adolescent brain development, and has been associated with lasting cognitive and behavioral impairments, including effects on working memory and attention.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act), which became law in 2009, gave FDA immediate authority over cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. The Tobacco Control Act also gave FDA the ability to then assert authority or "deem" jurisdiction over all other tobacco products, including cigars, e-cigarettes, hookah and pipe tobacco – the next generation of tobacco products that are being used to target kids. The tobacco industry, especially cigar, e-cigarettes and hookah manufacturers, continue to use candy and fruit flavors to appeal to kids. 

In April, the FDA released its proposed regulation and in August, the American Lung Association filed its own comments as well as joint comments with partners. FDA’s proposal includes one option that would completely exempt “premium” cigars from any kind of oversight. The American Lung Association made clear in its comments that this exemption is completely unacceptable.

Tobacco use kills almost half a million Americans each year, and impacts almost every system in the body, causing lung cancer, heart attacks, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

“While we have made some progress in reducing youth cigarette use, we still have close to half a million people dying from tobacco use each year,” Wimmer said. “We must redouble our efforts to eliminate youth use of all tobacco products, and end the tobacco epidemic once and for all – and that begins with FDA having authority over all tobacco products.”

For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health, tobacco use and tobacco policies, contact the American Lung Association at media@lung.org or 312-801-7628.

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About the American Lung Association The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases.  For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.

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