Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published data taken from the organization’s National Youth Tobacco Survey, showing that the health industry needs to take drastic action against unregulated tobacco products.
“The CDC data reveals several troubling trends about youth tobacco use and underscores the crucial need for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate all tobacco products,” according to a statement from the American Cancer Society Action Network (ACS CAN). “The disappointing figures show that the rate of tobacco use among middle and high school students remains stalled, that large numbers of youth tobacco users regularly use multiple tobacco products, and that use of e-cigarettes, especially among middle schoolers in particular, is rapidly rising.”
The survey shows that there are 4.7 million middle as well as high school students who have used tobacco products in 2015 alone. E-cigarettes were the most popular with middle school students, at 5.3 percent, and high school students, 16 percent. The results also suggested that there has been no change in the rates of teens who used traditional tobacco products -- such as cigars, cigarettes and smokeless tobacco -- from 2014 to 2015.
“The CDC’s disconcerting findings come one day after Congress included language in a U.S. House appropriations bill that would significantly limit the FDA’s ability to protect youth from cigars and other unregulated tobacco products,” according to the statement. “The language is a maneuver to exempt cigars, including inexpensive and flavored cigars popular with youth, from FDA oversight. The maneuver could also block the regulation of a substantial number of other increasingly popular tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and hookah, unless the cigar industry gets the exemption it wants.”
The data show that the FDA must take action to prevent the spread of these products.
“In order to protect the health and safety of our nation, no tobacco product should be exempt from regulation; each passing day without meaningful FDA regulation enables the industry to continue using its tactics to addict kids to their deadly tobacco products,” according to the statement. “The administration should act immediately to finalize a rule granting FDA the authority to regulate all tobacco products and Congress should not undermine efforts by the FDA to rein in the unfettered access of tobacco companies to peddle their addictive products to youth.”