The government's top doctor is taking aim at what he called a youth vaping epidemic and targeted the best-selling electronic cigarette brand, Juul, for addicting millions of teenagers.
In an advisory issued Tuesday, Surgeon General Jerome Adams said parents, teachers, health professionals and government officials must take "aggressive steps" to keep children from using e-cigarettes. The advisory also called on local authorities to use methods like bans on indoor vaping and restriction on sales.
"I am officially declaring e-cigarette use among youth an epidemic in the United States," Adams said at a news conference. "Now is the time to take action. We need to protect our young people from all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes."
For young people, "nicotine is dangerous and it can have negative health effects," Adams said in an interview. "It can impact learning, attention and memory, and it can prime the youth brain for addiction."
The advisory was prompted by the latest statistics on vaping among youth, which found e-cigarette use among teenagers has increased dramatically. Twice as many high school students used nicotine-tinged electronic cigarettes this year compared with last year, an unprecedented jump. It was the largest single-year increase in the annual survey’s 44-year history, far surpassing a mid-1970s surge in marijuana smoking.