Washington, D.C., June 9, 2016 – American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments today on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which is conducted every two years. The 2015 data show the rate of cigarette smoking among American high school students has continued to drop since the last survey. In 2013, 15.7 percent of teens smoked cigarettes; now only 11 percent use these traditional tobacco products. However, this remarkable accomplishment is overshadowed by sobering new data on the use of electronic vaping products, such as e-cigarettes, e-cigars, e-hookah, vape pens, vape pipes and e-vaporizers. In 2015, almost a quarter (24 percent) of U.S. high school students used these products:
“Vaping has become so prevalent among U.S. high school students that it’s graduated to ‘risky behavior’ status. The fact that e-cigs and other electronic nicotine products have surged in popularity with such an impressionable age group is extremely alarming. ALL tobacco products are dangerous, and their ongoing use is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. We must shore up our efforts to stop this disturbing trend before it climbs higher and turns more young people into lifelong tobacco addicts.
Fortunately, electronic vapor products will finally be reined in by the tobacco deeming rule, recently released by the Food and Drug Administration. These new regulations provide a much-needed framework for oversight of electronic vaping products that will help curb their growing use by our nation’s youth.
While the survey presents a glum view of vaping, it highlights positive tobacco news as well: cigarette smoking among high school students has reached the lowest rate in 24 years. This historic decline is certainly worthy of applause. A lot of hard work at the national, state and local levels went into reaching this milestone, including running mass media campaigns and putting in place higher tobacco taxes, stronger smoke-free laws and other tobacco prevention policies that help protect the heart health of every American.
But even as we celebrate this great achievement, we remain ever vigilant as tobacco takes on new and dangerous forms. The association will continue this fight until all tobacco use is eradicated from our nation.”
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