Surgeon General links rising youth tobacco use to e-cigarettes

The U.S. Surgeon General said in an interview that aired Wednesday that use of e-cigarettes can be linked to rising tobacco use among young people.

“We’ve seen tobacco use among youth go down over the last decade, it’s now starting to go back up because of e-cigarettes,” Dr. Jerome Adams told Hill.TV’s Saagar Enjeti on “Rising.” 

“It’s a fundamentally different product we have compared to the e-cigarettes of old,” he said. “It delivers much more nicotine, and we’re hearing from high school principals and from parents that kids out there now are becoming, rapidly becoming addicted to these products, so I’m worried the numbers are going to get worse this year.” 

However, Adams warned that any potential restrictions on e-cigarettes could negatively impact adults who could be using the devices to quit traditional forms of smoking. 

“I’m worried that if we don’t really lean into it, then it’s going to limit adult access to these products among people who were smoking and using them to quit,” he said. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 1.5 million more current youth e-cigarette users in 2018 than the previous year.

The group also noted that e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product, leading cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, hookah and pipes.   

— Julia Manchester

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