Health groups urge FDA to combat teen vaping

Health groups are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to regulate electronic cigarettes after another report released Tuesday showed a high use of the product among teens. 

The National Institute of Health’s (NIH) 2014 Monitoring and Future survey monitored the use of e-cigarettes for the first time this year and found that 8.7 percent of eighth-graders, 16.2 percent of 10th-graders and 17.1 percent of 12th-graders had used the product in the last month. 

“This survey’s statistics on kids and e-cigarettes should set off alarm bells at the Food and Drug Administration,” American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said in a statement. 

“According to these findings, a new generation of American teens are taking up nicotine via e-cigarettes, which remain un-regulated. How many more of our children will fall prey to these hi-tech devices before the FDA acts?”

The NIH report comes about a month after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report pointing to an increase in vaping among U.S. youth. 

Though daily cigarette smoking in the last five years has decreased by nearly 50 percent across all grade levels, health officials worry about impacts these unregulated electronic nicotine delivery systems will have on public health. 

“Despite the positive developments this year, we are concerned about the levels of e-cigarette use among teens that we are seeing,” said Lloyd D. Johnston, a principal investigator with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. “It would be a tragedy if this product undid some of the great progress made to date in reducing cigarette smoking by teens.”