GoErie.com reports on e-cigarette use among teens in Erie County. Use among Erie County teens has increased significantly in recent years, even though federal law prevents the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone younger than 18. About one in six students in the county — 16.6 percent — vaped at least once in the past 30 days, according to the 2017 Pennsylvania Youth Risk Behavior Survey. It’s an increase from 16 percent in the 2015 survey, the first survey that included vaping statistics. Nationally, e-cigarette use rose from 1.5 percent to 11.7 percent among high school students and from 0.6 percent to 3.3 percent among middle school students from 2011 to 2017, the Food and Drug Administration reported recently.
The Wolf Administration is urging teens and their parents, educators and health care providers to be aware of the dangers of vaping or using e-cigarettes as the number of teens using this method of smoking is increasing across the nation. “Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive drug that can harm brain development, which continues until about age 25,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to go on to use regular cigarettes. If you have a problem with vaping, there are resources available to help you.” The FDA, last month, declared the use of e-cigarettes among teens an “epidemic” and is taking steps to stop youth access to tobacco products. At the same time, the U.S. Surgeon General determined that e-cigarette use among youth and young adults is a public health concern.
The American Lung Association expressed concern about the possible health consequences of e-cigarettes and lack of government oversight of the products. Joining Smart Talk on Wednesday to discuss e-cigarette use among youth and the public was Erika Sward, assistant vice president of national advocacy for the American Lung Association, Jennifer Hobbs Folkenroth, national senior director, tobacco, American Lung Association, Dr. Jonathan Foulds, professor of public health sciences and psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine, and Dionne Baylor, supervisor and prevention specialist with Dauphin County Department of Drug & Alcohol Services.