Alec Stone
Alec Stone MA, MPA, ONS Public Affairs Director

The advent of e-cigarettes and vaping mechanisms has shifted the dynamic of underage tobacco use for the first time in more than a decade. In fact, the U.S. surgeon general declared the situation a national epidemic. Known as e-cigs, vapes, e-hookah, vape pens, and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), the mechanisms look similar to USB flash drives, pens, and other items not typically associated with tobacco consumption.

To help combat the increase in youth smoking, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued materials and public education alerts about electronic tobacco mechanisms.

Some points include:

  • E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products.
  • Although e-cigarettes have the potential to benefit some people and harm others, scientists are still investigating whether e-cigarettes are effective for quitting smoking.
  • If you’ve never smoked or used other tobacco products or e-cigarettes, don’t start.
  • E-cigarettes are still fairly new, and scientists are still evaluating their long-term health effects.

In recent years, vaping companies have focused their marketing tactics to target younger generations. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking a strong stance against companies like Juul and its youth-attracting vaping flavors like cotton candy and gummy bears. Recently, the U.S. Senate launched a full investigation into Juul as part of its renewed focus on smoking and tobacco use, especially among U.S. youth.