PHOTO: The number of calls to poison-control centers about electronic cigarette incidents more than doubled last year, which has prompted the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to call on the Food and Drug Administration to finalize regulations. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
WASHINGTON – The number of calls to poison-control centers about electronic cigarette incidents more than doubled last year compared with 2013, according to new data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Children under age six were the victims in more than half the cases.
The rise in calls has the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to finalize its proposed rule to regulate the products. Campaign vice president for communications Vince Willmore says the agency also needs to crack down on companies’ marketing and flavors, such as “gummy bear” and bubble gum.
“Given how they’re being marketed, and given these sweet flavors, it’s not surprising more kids are using e-cigarettes, and that they’re attracted to nicotine liquids and being poisoned by them,” Willmore says.
While there are no federal regulations to restrict the sale of electronic cigarettes and nicotine liquids, most states require that purchasers be 18 years of age. Willmore says his group wants the FDA to finalize and strengthen rules by the end of April.
Willmore says the colors and packaging of e-cigarettes also appeal to kids, yet nicotine is highly dangerous and not only because of potential addiction.
“Nicotine is a very toxic substance and exposure to even small amounts of nicotine, whether it’s through the skin or through ingestion, can cause vomiting and seizures,” he says. “Unfortunately, it can even be lethal.”
A 1-year-old child in New York died last month after swallowing liquid nicotine. Willmore says the FDA should require childproof packaging, and adults need to keep the devices and supplies out of sight and out of reach of children.
On January 22nd the New Orleans City Council passed an ordinance making all indoor public spaces smoke-free!
Residents and tourists alike will now be able to enjoy all that the Big Easy has to offer while enjoying clean air. And employees in bars, music venues, casinos and other workplaces won’t be forced to breathe secondhand smoke in order to earn a paycheck.
This huge victory is the result of months of work by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and our partners in the #SmokeFreeNOLA campaign – and supporters like you who helped us send a clear message to City Council.
STAND is featured as an episode of Teen Kids News, an emmy award winning TV Show aimed at teens. The program airs in at least 88 markets and the show is also made available through educational networks to more than 10,000 schools with 7.5 million students and teachers; and it airs on the American Forces Network, with a reach of 1 million.
The program aired September 27, 2014 and January 3, 2015.
Unlike other U.S. states, Arizona is doing well when it comes funding for anti-tobacco programs, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
“We rank well within the top ten in terms of funding dedicated to these types of programs,” said Wayne Tormala, ADHS Chief for the Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease.
Arizona, indeed, ranks 8th in total money spent on tobacco prevention programs.
However, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the state is guilty of underfunding the programs. A recent report suggests the state will spend just under 19 million dollars on these types of programs that have proven efficient in stopping kids from smoking. According to the campaign’s website, only North Dakota and Alaska currently fund tobacco prevention programs at the levels recommended by the Center for Disease Control.
“Relative to other states, we are doing quite well,” Tormala rebutted. “In fact, over the past few years, over 100,000 teenagers have quit smoking.”
In a report issued late last year, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids revealed that more than 50,000 Arizona high school students smoke — about 14 percent of all such students in the state. That number is about two percent lower than adults who smoke in the state.
The campaign also reported that Arizona ranks 17th in percent of CDS-recommended funding levels. The U.S. as a whole, it says, cumulatively spent just 1.9 percent of its overall tobacco revenue in 2014 on tobacco prevention programs.
The survey, released Tuesday by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, measured drug and alcohol use this year among middle and high school students across the country. More than 41,000 students from 377 public and private schools participated. It is one of several such national surveys, and the most up-to-date.
It was the first time this survey measured e-cigarette use, so there were no comparative data on the change over time. Other surveys have shown e-cigarette use among middle and high school students to be much lower, but increasing fast.
The survey found that 17 percent of 12th graders reported using an e-cigarette in the last month, compared with 13.6 percent who reported having an traditional cigarette. Among 10th graders, the reported use of e-cigarettes was 16 percent, compared with 7 percent for cigarettes. And among 8th graders, reported e-cigarette use was 8.7 percent, compared with just 4 percent who said they had smoked a cigarette in the last month.
A 2013 youth tobacco survey by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released in November found that the share of American high school students who use e-cigarettes rose to 4.5 percent in 2013 from 2.8 percent in 2012. The share of middle school students who use e-cigarettes remained flat at 1.1 percent over the same period.
The gap between the two sets of findings was substantial, and researchers struggled to explain it. Both are broad, reliable federal surveys that go back years, and their methodologies do not differ greatly. The drug abuseinstitute uses individual school grades, while the disease centers combine grades, which may account for some of the difference.
Some experts said that the new data suggested the rate may have increased substantially since 2013, though it will be impossible to know for sure until the C.D.C. releases its 2014 data sometime next year.
E-cigarettes have split the public health world, with some experts arguing that they are the best hope in generations for the 18 percent of Americans who still smoke to quit. Others say that people are using them not to quit but to keep smoking, and that they could become a gateway for young people to take up real cigarettes.
But that does not seem to be happening, at least so far. Daily cigarette use among teenagers continued to decline in 2014, the survey found, dropping across all grades by nearly half over the past five years. Among high school seniors, for example, 6.7 percent reported smoking cigarettes daily in 2014, compared with 11 percent five years ago.
Most experts agree that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than traditional cigarettes. But they contain nicotine, an addictive substance that some experts contend is potentially harmful for brain development. Some experts also warn that nicotine use could establish patterns that leave young people more vulnerable to addiction to other substances.
The survey found significant declines in the use of other drugs. Among high school seniors, about 6 percent reported having taken a prescription drug, substantially down from the peak of 9.5 percent in 2004. Abuse of Vicodin, the opioid pain reliever, declined by nearly half among 12th graders over five years.
In states with medical marijuana laws, 40 percent of high school seniors who reported using marijuana in the past year said they had consumed it in food, compared with 26 percent in states without such laws.
A new study offers support for the idea that electronic cigarettes can serve as a gateway drug to regular smoking. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
By KAREN KAPLAN
Study finds significant overlap between use of electronic and regular cigarettes. Does one lead to the other?
29% of the high school students surveyed had used e-cigarettes at least once, researchers say
Among ninth and 10th graders who had tried e-cigarettes, 41% also smoked traditional cigarettes
Do e-cigarettes lure teens into a world of vice that turns them into smokers of regular cigarettes? This is the big fear of anti-smoking activists, and new data from Hawaii suggest they may be right.
A survey of 1,941 ninth- and 10th-graders from Oahu found that 29% of them had tried electronic cigarettes at least once, and that 18% of them had used the devices in the last month, according to a study published Monday by the journal Pediatrics.
These figures represent a substantial jump from e-cigarette smoking rates reported in earlier years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Youth Tobacco Survey, for instance, found that 10% of U.S. teens had tried e-cigarettes in 2012, up from 4.7% in 2011.