The Vaping Epidemic: Battle Against E-cigarettes

There has been so much focus lately on the various harms that are caused by vaping and e-cigs. President Trump recently called for a ban on flavored e-cigarettes. The President, and Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar consequently announced that the Food and Drug administration would be outlining guidelines for removing flavored e-cigarettes and nicotine pods from the market.

The ban will include menthol and mint, which are incredibly popular flavors, and will exclude tobacco flavors. This ban came as a result of mounting pressure from lawmakers, public officials, and parents who have been alarmed by the increasing rates of teenagers who are vaping. The numbers are actually alarming, as witnesses who listened to principal Deputy of the Centers for Disease Control, Anne Schuchat testify this week about the severe illness that have come about as a result of people vaping.

What Anne Schuchat had to say about vaping paints a grim picture, one that only seems to be getting worse as time goes on. Schuchat was testifying as part of a string of week-long hearings meant to address a mystery, vaping related illness that has affected 530 people in people in 38 states, killing nine. Obviously these numbers are alarming, but combined with recent data from a letter by Michigan scientists published in the New  England Journal of Medicine regarding teenage e-cigarette use, they are doubly so.

Using a Monitoring the Future Survey, the author of this paper looked to see what the increase in adolescence vaping looked like from 2018-2019 and the results are astounding. The project {Monitering the Future}  surveyed 43,703 students in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grade, in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Findings from the study: 

“There were significant increases in 30-day nicotine vaping in samples at each of the three grade levels from 2018 to 2019. As a result of these annual increases, vaping prevalence more than doubled in each of the three grades from 2017 to 2019. In 2019, the prevalence of use during the previous 30 days was more than 1 in 4 students in the 12th grade, more than 1 in 5 in the 10th grade, and more than 1 in 11 in the 8th grade. Students who had vaped nicotine during the previous 12 months and those who had never vaped nicotine also significantly increased in each grade from 2018 to 2019.”

This is beyond alarming, and as Ms. Schuchat has said in the hearings that took place this week, it’s only getting worse. Unless we tackle the issue at hand now, there is no say on what the future could hold. E-cigs have become a health and environmental issue and as such deserves to be taken seriously. There are nonprofit organizations established to tackle these issues with funding from different grant funders nationwide. There are even more grants available to new organizations seeking to make a difference in the battle against these ongoing health issues.

Authored by Lianne Hikind

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