Amid increased efforts to address the disturbing teen vaping epidemic in the United States, a new national survey indicates that youth e-cigarette use is gradually declining after steadily rising over the past six years. Unfortunately, even with fewer teens vaping, statistics show that the sale of e-cigarettes in the U.S. is on the rise overall, when both youth and adult users are accounted for. If you or someone you love has suffered a nicotine addiction or another serious e-cigarette side effect, contact an experienced e-cigarette injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options for legal recourse. You may qualify for an e-cigarette injury lawsuit, which could help you recover the compensation you deserve for the harm you and your loved ones have suffered, so don’t wait to call.
E-cigarettes first entered the U.S. marketplace in 2007, and since then, they have become the most commonly used tobacco product among American youths. According to the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey, a school-based survey of tobacco use among middle school and high school students conducted from January 16 to March 16, 2020, nearly 20% of high school students and 5% of middle school students in the U.S. still use e-cigarette products, despite growing concerns about nicotine addiction and other serious side effects that have been linked to vaping, including e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI). The good news is that these numbers represent a considerable dip from 2019, when 27% of high school students and 10% of middle school students reported using e-cigarettes. However, even with this encouraging decline in teen e-cigarette use, more than three million teens in the U.S. still currently use e-cigarette products.
The use of e-cigarette products among U.S. teens may finally be declining following several years of disturbing increases in use, but that doesn’t mean e-cigarettes are no longer a public health concern. According to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which accounted for both adult and youth e-cigarette use, the sale of e-cigarette products increased by 122.2% from September 2014 to May 2020. During that time period, the proportion of disposable e-cigarettes and e-cigarettes with prefilled cartridges also increased, as did the proportion of menthol-flavored e-cigarette products. In fact, the National Youth Tobacco Survey indicates that eight out of 10 teens who vape prefer flavored products, with fruit, candy, mint and menthol products among the most commonly used.
In conjunction with the release of the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey findings, the FDA issued warning letters to three companies that sell or distribute unauthorized e-cigarette products, demanding that the companies remove the products from the market. XL Vape LLC, a disposable e-cigarette brand popular among teens, received a warning letter for selling e-cigarette products that do not have the required premarket authorization. Flavour Warehouse LTD and Pretty Women UK LTD also received warning letters from the agency for their illegal marketing of unauthorized menthol-flavored e-liquids. According to the FDA, the labeling and/or advertising of these unauthorized e-cigarette products also contains cartoon images that may specifically appeal to youth.
In recent years, federal health regulators have ramped up efforts to curb youth e-cigarette use in the United States. “In addition to regulation of the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of e-cigarettes by FDA, strategies to reduce e-cigarette use among youths include increasing price, implementing comprehensive smoke-free policies that include e-cigarettes, restricting youths’ access to e-cigarettes in retail settings, licensing retailers, developing educational initiatives targeting youths, curbing youth-appealing advertising and marketing, and implementing strategies to reduce youth access to flavored tobacco products,” the CDC states in its new e-cigarette use report. Consumer advocates are calling for additional action though, including proposed bans on disposable e-cigarette products and all flavored products, including menthol flavors, to further reduce the number of teens who vape and become addicted to nicotine.
Aggressive advertising and marketing tactics designed to target youth have fueled the teen vaping epidemic in the United States, as has the sale of flavored products that appeal to children, and until these practices and products are properly addressed by federal regulators, teen e-cigarette use will continue to be a problem in the United States. Moving forward, the FDA has promised to take action against any e-cigarette product, flavored or otherwise, “if it is targeted to kids, if its marketing is likely to promote use by minors, or if the manufacturer fails to take adequate measures to prevent youth access.” If you or a loved one has developed a lifelong addiction to nicotine as a result of vaping, or if you have experienced a serious e-cigarette-related medical condition, such as EVALI, contact us as soon as possible to find out if you are eligible for compensation through an e-cigarette injury claim.