Statement from Jose Luis Castro, President and Chief Executive Officer at Vital Strategies, on Bloomberg Philanthropies’ new $160 million investment in ending the youth e-cigarette epidemic:
“Kid-friendly flavored e-cigarettes have supercharged an epidemic of youth nicotine addiction.We applaud Michael Bloomberg for investing in this new initiative to end the youth e-cigarette epidemic. Mr. Bloomberg has long expressed serious concerns about e-cigarettes and their impact on youth – concerns that we have shared. These concerns have proved to be justified.
“A third of all U.S. e-cigarette users are middle and high-school students, and over a single year (2017-2018), youth e-cigarette rose 78%. By failing to take swift action to regulate these products, lawmakers have allowed e-cigarette companies to mislead consumers about the health benefits of their products and hook a new generation of America’s kids and teens with sweet and fruity flavors. “Protect Kids: Fight Flavored E-Cigarettes” will benefit immensely under Mr. Bloomberg’s leadership and with support from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an organization that has a proven track record of protecting children and saving lives from tobacco use in the US and abroad.
“Together, I have no doubt they will provide the leadership that is needed to combat this epidemic threatening America’s youth and protect our progress towards a tobacco-free generation.”
According to The Tobacco Atlas, laws banning the sale of flavored tobacco products have passed in Brazil, Turkey, Ethiopia, the European Union, and five Canadian provinces. Many countries regulate the marketing and sale of e-cigarettes, and flavors and other ingredients in e-cigarettes. In September, Michigan became the first U.S. state to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarette products to help protect the state’s youth. According to a 2016 Surgeon General’s report, youth use of nicotine in any form is unsafe, can cause addiction and can harm the developing adolescent brain. A “gateway effect” from vaping to smoking has been identified in a number of reports, including a January 2018 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
About Vital Strategies’ work in tobacco control:
Vital Strategies works globally and in more than 40 countries to support the adoption of proven policies to reduce tobacco use. Our global team of experts use policy, advocacy and strategic communication to help governments adopt life-saving, public health “best buys” like comprehensive smoke-free laws and high tobacco taxes. Our evidence-based public education campaigns – designed to encourage quitting, delay initiation, support policy goals like compliance with smoke-free laws, and over the long term, reduce the acceptability of smoking and change attitudes about the tobacco industry – have been seen by more than 2 billion people. We partner with American Cancer Society to produce The Tobacco Atlas, (sixth ed.) the most comprehensive report on the evolving global tobacco epidemic, and support production of WHO’s MPOWER reports. Vital Strategies is a main partner in the $1 billion Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use.
For more information on Vital Strategies’ work in tobacco control, please visit: https://www.vitalstrategies.org/programs/tobacco-control/
Christina Honeysett, PR Director