by Andrea Hinds & Ashley Irwin
Current e-cigarette use/vaping among high school students has increased by 19% in seven years, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), meaning almost 21% of high school students are using e-cigarettes. From just 2017 to 2018, e-cigarette use increased by 78%.
The huge increase prompted several actions:
- The Surgeon General concluded that e-cigarette use among youth and young adults is a public health concern
- The FDA issued more than 1300 warning letters and civil money penalty fines to retailers who illegally sold e-cigarette products to minors,
- The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) issued a public health advisory
Like many health organizations, the City of Spring Hill is concerned about e-cigarette/vaping among its youth, which prompted Spring Hill officials to discuss and vote on banning vaping from its public parks at a recent Board of Mayor and Alderman Meeting.
One board member stated that the many vape flavors that are offered is a draw for people, especially youth, an opinion popular among organizations like the CDC.
On the other hand, one board member was against banning vaping, due to inconclusive research. Despite that, the motion passed by a vote of 5-1 to outlaw vaping in public parks.
The Tennessee Department of Health wants all Tennesseans to be aware of the risks associated with any electronic nicotine delivery systems (also called ENDS).
Some of the risks cited are:
- Nicotine is highly addictive and dangerous to the developing brain. Nearly 90 percent of adult smokers started before age 18.
- There is now substantial evidence that use of e-cigarettes by youth places them at increased risk of becoming future smokers of combustible products such as cigarettes.
- In Tennessee, 40 percent of high school students have used an END product and 11.5 percent report current use.
- Those who use ENDS to quit use of conventional tobacco products often continue to smoke cigarettes as well, and may be less likely to quit using tobacco than those who do not use ENDS.