According to the American Lung Association’s 2020 State of Tobacco Control report, the federal government delay in action on ending the youth vaping epidemic was inadequacy. An estimated 480,000 deaths are associate yearly with tobacco use with 31.2% of high school students using at least one tobacco product in 2019. Congress action to increase the tobacco sale age to 21 nationwide was passed at the end of 2019, however the inability to take swift action was harmful to youth. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for overseeing all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
Flavored tobacco products have become popular among teens and now more than 1 in 4 teens (27.5%) are vaping, a staggering 135% increase over the past two years. Data show a 78% increase in high school e-cigarette use and 48% increase in middle school e-cigarette use from 2017 to 2018. In 2019, 27.5% of high school students and 10.5% of middle school students used e-cigarettes. About 6.2 million middle and high school students currently use tobacco products.
The State of Tobacco Control report key issue was the tobacco use by teens and the dramatic rise in youth e-cigarette use as a real failure for the federal government. “The American Lung Association urges the federal government to implement proven tobacco control policies and help us end the youth vaping epidemic,” stated President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer. He emphasized that “while the federal government [earned] an A grade for passage of a strong federal Tobacco 21 law, it also earns an F for its failure to comprehensively oversee tobacco products. Without meaningful actions by the federal government, the health and the future of our nation’s children are being compromised.”