Washington, D.C., — American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments on the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The survey revealed that for the first time, e-cigarettes have surpassed the use of every other tobacco product by youth. The new NYTS comes just a week before the one-year anniversary of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposed tobacco deeming rule that was put forward on April 25, 2014, and has yet to be finalized:
“The release of this survey couldn’t be better-timed, and the takeaway message is loud and clear: Tobacco regulations need to be finalized now. We cannot stand by while more and more youth put themselves at risk for heart disease, stroke or even an early death. The American Heart Association once again urges the FDA to meet its target release date of June for its tobacco deeming rule, if not sooner.
Use of tobacco in any form by young Americans is a public health nightmare. The results this survey presents on the escalating use of e-cigarettes by the nation’s youth reinforces the pressing need for FDA regulation of all tobacco products – this includes e-cigarettes.
As the CDC reports, middle and high school students’ use of traditional cigarettes continues to decline, while their use of e-cigarettes is increasing at a troubling pace. E-cigarette use has tripled among high school and middle school students. The popularity of e-cigarettes has been fueled by a tobacco industry working overtime to addict a new generation. The tactics they have employed to achieve this goal are all too familiar. They include appealing flavors and easy access. To help close the deal with teens, the industry also uses alluring ads featuring celebrity pitches, cartoons and suggestive themes. The results of this survey indicate their efforts have unfortunately been very successful.
We implore the agency to extend current advertising and marketing restrictions to children for all tobacco products under its final rule. We also renew our request that the FDA ban kid-friendly e-cigarette flavors – more than 250 flavors are already being added every month. In addition, age verification practices must be applied to Internet sales of e-cigarettes to prevent underage kids from getting hold of these tobacco products.
These disturbing developments make it imperative for the FDA to release the final version of the tobacco deeming rule as soon as possible.”
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