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  • Associated Press A high school principal displays vaping devices that were confiscated from students at a school in Massachusetts. The U.S. surgeon general says swift action is needed to prevent millions of teenagers and adolescents from becoming hooked.

  • Adams

Wednesday, December 19, 2018 1:00 am

Warnings on vaping given

Surgeon general decries teen risks from e-cigarettes

MATTHEW PERRONE | Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The government's top doctor is taking aim at the best-selling electronic cigarette brand in the United States, urging swift action to prevent Juul and similar vaping brands from addicting millions of teenagers.

In an advisory Tuesday, Surgeon General Jerome Adams said parents, teachers, health professionals and government officials must take “aggressive steps” to keep children from using e-cigarettes. Federal law bars the sale of e-cigarettes to those under 18.

For young people, “nicotine is dangerous and it can have negative health effects,” Adams said in an interview. “It can impact learning, attention and memory, and it can prime the youth brain for addiction.”

Federal officials are scrambling to reverse a recent explosion in teen vaping that public health officials fear could undermine decades of declines in tobacco use. An estimated 3.6 million U.S. teens are now using e-cigarettes, representing 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle schoolers, according to the latest federal figures.

Separate survey results released Monday showed twice as many high school students used e-cigarettes this year than last year.

Adams singled out Silicon Valley startup Juul. The company leapfrogged over its larger competitors with online promotions portraying their small device as the latest high-tech gadget for hip, attractive young people. Analysts now estimate the company controls more than 75 percent of the U.S. e-cigarette market.

“We do know that these newer products, such as Juul, can promote dependence in just a few uses,” Adams said.

Juul said in a statement that it shares the surgeon general's goal: “We are committed to preventing youth access of Juul products.”