Mississippi State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs, MD, MPH, joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their concern over increasing tobacco product use among youth.
More than 1 in 4 high school students used a tobacco product in 2018. This was a considerable increase from 2017, and was driven by a rise in e-cigarette use. Current e-cigarette use increased by 77.8% among high school students and 48.5% among middle school students during 2017–2018, erasing the prior year’s progress in reducing e-cigarette use and tobacco product use.
“Use of any form of tobacco product by youth is unsafe, including e-cigarettes,” Dobbs said. “The increase in e-cigarette use is alarming because youth nicotine use can lead to addiction and can harm the developing brain, impacting learning, memory and attention.”
E-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. youth since 2014. This recent increase in e-cigarette use among youth is consistent with observed increases in sales of the e-cigarette JUUL, a USB-shaped e-cigarette device with a high nicotine content that can be used discreetly and is available in flavors that appeal to youth. A single prefilled liquid nicotine JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.
“Educators need to be especially vigilant because there are reports of e-cigarettes like JUUL being used in classrooms and school bathrooms,” Dobbs states.
E-cigarette use can lead to traditional cigarette use and nicotine addiction. Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Mississippi. For more information and resources about the dangers of e-cigarettes or tobacco products, visit HealthyMS.com/tobacco.