U.S. PIRG’s comment in response to the Food and Drug Administration’s Draft Guidance: “Modifications to Compliance Policy for Certain Deemed Tobacco Products”

Last updated: 4/29/2019

Addictive and damaging to kids

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States.  Nearly 90 percent of cigarette smokers start smoking by their eighteenth birthday.  Restricting youth access and appeal to tobacco products is critical to reducing the strain that tobacco use puts on Americans’ health. 

E-cigarettes entered the U.S. marketplace around 2007 and since 2014 have been the most commonly used tobacco product among youth in the U.S.  As the FDA notes in its proposed guidance, the National Youth Tobacco Survey showed a drastic rise in e-cigarette use among young people from 2017-2018, with use surging by nearly 80 percent among high schoolers in one year.  The U.S. Surgeon General considers e-cigarette use among young people an epidemic. 

E-cigarettes almost always contain nicotine, an addictive drug that can impact learning, memory and attention among adolescents.  It can also contribute to mood disorders and increased risk of future addiction to other dangerous substances.  Research also suggests that young people using e-cigarettes are more likely than non-users to start smoking combustible cigarettes. A meta-analysis of recent studies shows that young adults who vape are 3 times more likely than non-users to start smoking cigarettes. 

The immediate health risks posed by e-cigarette use among America’s youth warrant actions beyond what the FDA has proposed in its draft guidance.

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