In light of recent news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the multi-state outbreak of lung disease associated with e-cigarette product use and the 135 percent increase in vaping rates since 2017, NAPNAP commends the Administration’s plan to remove all flavored e-cigarettes from the market. As of Sept. 19, 2019, the CDC noted more than 530 confirmed and possible cases of lung illness reported from 38 states and one U.S. territory, including seven deaths. While the cause of these illnesses is unknown, all reported cases have a history of e-cigarette or vaping use. Preliminary results from the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey demonstrate a rise of e-cigarette use to more than a quarter of high school students. In 2018, the U.S. surgeon general called for “the importance of protecting our children from a lifetime of nicotine addiction and associated health risks by immediately addressing the epidemic of e-cigarette use.”
With the high doses of nicotine present in e-cigarette products, exposure of youth to mass market advertising and the presence of youth-appealing flavors, these products represent a real danger to America’s youth. Nicotine is highly addictive and the consequences of nicotine addiction are significant to the developing brain of an adolescent. There are a variety of state regulations which address the definition, tax, packaging, and youth access to e-cigarettes.
NAPNAP recommends that youth refrain from the use of e-cigarettes or vaping products. Patients can visit smokefree.gov or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW. To access the new e-cigarette quit program, users can text QUIT to 202-804-9884. It’s equally important that providers screen patients for the use of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Anticipatory guidance with children and adolescents on smoking cessation should not only include the use of cigarettes, but also the consequences of e-cigarette use. It’s critical to engage in research to better understand the long-term health effects of these products as well as working towards the development of treatment protocols for nicotine addicted youth given the lack of evidence for pediatrics. Report any unusual findings of severe pulmonary disease of otherwise unknown etiology in the setting of recent e-cigarette or vaping product use (within 90 days) to your state or local health department. Consult with specialists as appropriate and obtain more information from the CDC site. Lastly, we direct all pediatric providers to NAPNAP’s educational course on e-cigarettes available online at PedsCESM.
NAPNAP continues to encourage the Food and Drug Administration to exercise its existing authority to provide oversight over these products and reduce the harm they cause consistent with the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. NAPNAP will continue to seek evidence-based information to educate and encourage policymakers to support legislation to prevent the harmful effects of e-cigarette use. NAPNAP remains committed to empowering its members to enhance child and family health through ongoing education and advocacy to prevent the significant health impacts of e-cigarettes on youth.