E-cigarette use among kids and teens is an ‘urgent’ problem, organization says

Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 10:59 AM EDT
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(CNN) - An organization is calling the use of electronic cigarettes among kids and teens an “urgent” problem following the results of a recent survey.

More than 2.5 million middle and high school students in the United States reported using e-cigarettes this year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.

“Kids aren’t just experimenting with e-cigarettes. They’re using them all the time,” Vince Willmore with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said.

Not only is the nicotine found in many e-cigarettes addictive, but it can also affect a developing brain which can impact attention, memory and learning.

“Many of the e-cigarettes on the market right now deliver huge doses of nicotine. Some of them deliver as much nicotine as a pack of 20 cigarettes,” Willmore said.

According to the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey, nearly 85% of current middle and high school users chose flavored products. Fruit was the preferred flavor followed by mint, menthol and candy or other sweet flavors.

“We need to clear the market of flavored products, but unfortunately the FDA has missed deadline after deadline to protect our kids,” Willmore said.

In a statement, the FDA says it is “actively working to identify violations and to swiftly seek corrective actions, particularly for products popular among youth.”

The agency says it issued warning letters to some of the companies that sell the brand most commonly reported in the survey, adding that the products are being sold without marketing authorization.

The FDA says it is illegal for e-cigarettes that are not authorized by the FDA to be sold. Penalties for retailers or distributors can include seizure, injunction or a fine.