On Dec. 20, 2019, the President signed legislation amending the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raising the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product—including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes—to anyone under 21.
This is a HUGE victory for tobacco prevention efforts. At 18, most high school students had access to tobacco products, either through their older friends or by being able to purchase products directly and share them among their friends.
To assist retail stores in this monumental change the FDA website has released a series of webinars with back up signage, documentation, and tips for complying with the new federal law. You can view all their resources here.
CDC has identified vitamin E acetate as a chemical of concern among people with e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI). Recent CDC laboratory testing of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid samples (fluid samples collected from the lungs) from 29 patients with EVALI submitted to CDC from 10 states found vitamin E acetate in all of the samples. Vitamin E acetate is used as an additive, most notably as a thickening agent in THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products.
CDC recommends that people should not addd any substance to e-cigarette or vaping products that are not intended by the manufacturer, including products purchased through retail establishments. CDC will continue to update guidance, as appropriate, as new data become available from this outbreak investigation.
For a running update of all E-Cigarette related concerns from the CDC visit the official website here.
By Erika Edwards, health and medical news writer/reporter for NBC News and Today.
Another person has died from a severe respiratory illness linked to vaping, bringing the national death toll to nine.
The patient, a Kansas resident, was a man over age 50 who had underlying health conditions, according to a statement from the Kansas governor's office announcing the death.
This is the second such death in that state. Other states that have reported vaping-related lung illness deaths are California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri and Oregon.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 530 cases nationwide, and state health departments are investigating hundreds more.
The Food and Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigations previously launched an investigation into the products behind the illnesses, but has come up with no single device or ingredient that links all of the cases.
Read more about the case here.
Chance Ammirata was never a smoker, he was just a JUULer. What started as a hit off a friend's device became a severe habit. "I was like, 'Oh, this is why you have it,'" the now 18-year-old told BuzzFeed News. "I felt this buzz and it was like all of the anxiety and stress that I had [went away]."
His experience has changed Chance and has motivated the teen to speak out about these products. As of September 18, the CDC has confirmed over 500 cases of lung disorders that have one common link: vaping. Listen to Chance's story and his new inspiration for promoting awareness about the safety of these products.
Via the Washington Post
As e-cigarettes have skyrocketed in popularity among teenagers in the past two years, pediatricians report seeing teens who behave less like tobacco users and more like patients with substance-abuse disorders.
Some young people have resorted to stealing from their parents or selling e-cigarette paraphernalia to support their habits, addiction treatment specialists said. And even though many teens assume e-cigarettes are safe, some turn up with signs of nicotine toxicity, a condition previously seen in young children who accidentally ingested nicotine gum. Others are reporting respiratory problems.
“We were thinking about vapes just like we thought about cigarettes. Over time we realized no, no. This is something really different,” said Sharon Levy, director of the Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. She and other doctors said they believe they are witnessing for the first time the damage that repeated exposure to high levels of nicotine wreaks on young bodies.
Although the phenomenon has yet to be described in medical literature, anecdotal evidence from leading addiction specialists in Boston and New York and from families grappling with adolescent e-cigarette addiction points to previously unseen consequences of use among teens. Several families have sued Juul, accusing it of causing nicotine addiction in their children and describing extreme addiction symptoms.
Read the full article here.
By Jonah Hinebaugh, Staff Writer Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Sarasota county has seen a dramatic increase in the amount of students using vaporizers and e-cigarettes. Attorney General Ashley Moody visited Riverview high school to meet with educators in the area to discuss the issue as part of a statewide fact-gathering initiative.
Across the Sarasota County School District, the number of incidents involving ninth-grade students with vaporizers and e-cigarettes rose to 138 during the 2018-19 school year.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said vaping seems to be the most prevalent source of an addictive substance found in schools statewide.
During her visit to Riverview High School Thursday, as part of her statewide fact-gathering mission on the issue, Moody said a proactive approach is required before statistics rise higher.
“What I’m hearing is that we have done a poor job of educating people, kids and parents, before kids take their first hit of a vape,” Moody said.
Prevention, she said, “will make it a lot easier to battle against this addictive substance.
Read more about the meeting with the Attorney General here.
Statement on the agency’s actions to tackle the epidemic of youth vaping and court ruling on application submission deadlines for certain tobacco products, including e-cigarettes
For Immediate Release: July 15, 2019
Statement From: Acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs - Food and Drug Administration Norman E. "Ned" Sharpless MD
Late last week, a U.S. District Court judge in Maryland issued a decision that, among other things, requires makers and importers of e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and certain other tobacco products like cigars, pipe tobacco and hookah to submit applications for their currently marketed products to the agency within 10 months.
This court decision comes at a time when I, like many others, are tremendously concerned about the rising use of e-cigarettes among our nation’s youth and especially the potential for them to become traditional cigarette smokers. We cannot allow the next generation of young people to become addicted to nicotine because of e-cigarettes. I am all too aware of the staggering toll inflicted on the public health by tobacco products. As someone who has dedicated my life to reducing the public health burden and suffering caused by cancer, the importance of preventing youth addiction to nicotine rings especially true to me.
The FDA stands ready to accelerate the review of e-cigarettes and other new tobacco products. And we remain committed to tackling the epidemic of youth vaping using all available regulatory tools at our disposal. We will continue to take vigorous enforcement actions aimed at ensuring e-cigarettes and other tobacco products aren’t being marketed to, or sold to, kids. We will continue expanding our highly successful education efforts, such as “The Real Cost” campaign, to educate youth about the dangers of using tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. And we will continue to implement the policies necessary to keep e-cigarettes and all tobacco products out of the hands of America’s kids.
Read the entire statement from the Food and Drug Administration here.
KNOW THE RISKS. TAKE ACTION. PROTECT OUR KIDS.
From the Surgeon Generals Advisory Paper:
"I, Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, VADM Jerome Adams, am emphasizing the importance of protecting our children from a lifetime of nicotine addiction and associated health risks by immediately addressing the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use. The recent surge in e-cigarette use among youth, which has been fueled by new types of e-cigarettes that have recently entered the market, is a cause for great concern. We must take action now to protect the health of our nation’s young people."
Read the full report here.
By Sarah Nelson, Staff Writer Gainesville Sun
Commissioner Ken Cornell of Alachua Countyspoke highly of the new ordinance, calling the use of e-cigarettes among kids an “epidemic.”
Alachua County is now the first county in the state to raise the tobacco-buying age to 21.
The new ordinance will be enforced in all areas of the county, and applies to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, vaping products and liquid nicotine devices. Each municipality will have the opportunity to back out of the ordinance at any time.
Jerry Brewington, senior planner for the county’s growth management office, said the ordinance is aimed at stopping the sale of tobacco products. In other words, those under 21 won’t be penalized for smoking.
Many members of the nonprofit Tobacco Free Alachua County attended the meeting, saying the region should be the leader in phasing out youth tobacco use.
The ordinance passed 5-0 and will take effect in nine months.
Commissioner Ken Cornell spoke highly of the new ordinance, calling the use of e-cigarettes among kids an “epidemic.”
“We’re really happy,” Megan Hendricks, an Alachua County PTA member, said after the vote. “This will have a positive impact on our children.”
The county banned the sale of tobacco to those under 18 in 2013, with the rule extended to include e-cigarettes a few months later.
Visit Gainesville Sun for more information.
TOBACCO IMPACTS ON OUR LOCAL ENVIRONMENT
By: Tracy DeCubellis, Gilchrist County Community Health Advocate
Around the United States, many recreation areas such as beaches, parks, and other nature and recreational areas have attempted to stem the tide of environmental damage caused by tobacco waste by creating tobacco free areas. Many people tend to think of tobacco in terms of secondhand smoke, which is important to be sure, but it is not often that the impact of those cigarette butts, e-cigarette waste, snuff and snus pouches, and other tobacco residue is actually having on natural areas and wildlife when people use them in natural settings.
It is a well-known fact that tobacco products contain a variety of toxins like nicotine, benzene, cadmium, formaldehyde, arsenic, and a variety of other chemicals. They do not disappear when someone is finished using a tobacco product and they throw it on the ground. Instead, the toxins that remain in the product are deposited on the ground. Did you know that cigarette butts are not biodegradable? All of those cigarette butts that are thrown on the ground stay there, polluting the environment. The sad fact is that cigarette butts are the number one source of beach pollution around the world (1). In fact, only about 10% of all cigarette butts are actually thrown away or put into ashtrays (2).
This is an issue that should be seriously considered, especially areas that have rivers, springs, beaches and wildlife or natural areas used by the public. These areas can be a tremendous resource for the community and the state, but what happens if tobacco trash is littered in those areas? Animals such as birds and fish have been shown to eat tobacco trash, like cigarette butts, and they have been discovered in the stomachs of animals (3). Additionally, a study was done to find out the impact of a few cigarette butts on surrounding marine environments. It was discovered that putting just one cigarette butt into a liter of water had the effect of killing half of the fish that were exposed to it (4).
If healthy rivers, springs, and natural areas is an important issue to you, consider ways to get involved to help work toward a Florida free from tobacco waste.