Top US doctor urges 'aggressive' steps against e-cigarettes

Significant increase in e-cig use among youth prompts strong warning from US surgeon general

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The Surgeon General's Office advises parents whose kids ask about the relative hazards of vaping and smoking to dodge the question.

NewscomToday Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued an advisory that urges state and local governments to fight "the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use" by "implementing price policies" and banning indoor vaping. "And I don't use that word lightly", Adams added.

"There is an epidemic of use of e-cigarettes going - a 78 percent increase in high schoolers using these products in just the past year", Adams said.

Vaping among U.S. 12th graders, those in their final year of high school, doubled in the past year alone.

E-cigarettes and other vaping devices have been sold in the U.S. since 2007, growing into a $6.6 billion business. Since 2014, they have been the most commonly used tobacco product among American youth.

"A typical Juul cartridge, or 'pod, ' contains about as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes", Adams said in his official statement.

Just three percent of USA adults use e-cigarettes, far fewer than the rate among high schoolers, which tops 20 per cent.

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The public health community is often "late to the game" on critical issues involving young people, Adams told Reuters on Tuesday. The company has rolled out an age-verification system for its products and also offered to rein in sales of flavored vaping devices popular with younger consumers, including mango, creme and cucumber. The study found that Juul was found to contain more nicotine than any other brand of e-cigarette.

While e-cigarettes might help some adult smokers quit using the more unsafe combustible tobacco cigarettes, they're of no benefit at all to teens, the FDA and Adams say.

Nicotine is not only extremely addictive, but it is risky in its own right.

Dangers of e-cigarettes include harm to learning, memory, and attention, and putting kids at risk of future addiction.

Adams has no regulatory powers. Adams has sent out a public warning about the risks of vaping. Officials say they will continue to crack down on stores that illegally sell e-cigarettes to minors.

While raising the price of e-cigarettes may deter teenagers from buying these products (which they are not legally allowed to do in any case), it will have a similar effect on adult smokers interested in making a switch that could save their lives.

"There is clear evidence that these products are not safe for our young people", said MD Anderson president Dr. Peter Pisters.

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