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Regulating E-cigarettes Can Protect Youth

In recent years, the global vape market has grown rapidly, and the number of vapor has skyrocketed. The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction program estimates that there will be approximately 82 million e-cigarette users worldwide in 2021.

Geographically, the number of e-cigarette users in Europe and North America is climbing rapidly. The percentage of adults using e-cigarettes in the United Kingdom is rising rapidly from 1.7% in 2012 to 7.1% in 2019. Adult use of e-cigarettes in the United States increased from 4.5% in 2016 to 5.4% in 2018.

In terms of age, the fastest growth in e-cigarette use is among youth (ages 18 to 24), which jumped from 9.2 percent in 2016 to 15 percent in 2018. And e-cigarette use among students also grew rapidly, from 6.3 % in 2016 to 12 % in 2018, and remained on a growth trend until increased time spent at home in epidemic isolation curbed the growth slightly.

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The original brand of vape, and the current claims of the companies and advocates involved, are that e-cigarettes are less harmful to health than traditional, combustible cigarettes and can be used as an aid to smoking cessation for cigarette users. Even public health professionals have formed a pro-cigarette faction that supports the use of e-cigarettes as less harmful than cigarettes.

But whether e-cigarettes really have value in helping people quit smoking remains to be confirmed by more research. A more common concern is the potential harm that e-cigarette products can cause to young people.

The risk of burns and blast injuries from the e-cigarette device itself, the health effects of nicotine and other aerosol inclusions, the transition from e-cigarettes to trying traditional cigarettes ......

Keeping youth away from e-cigarettes requires an understanding of the reasons why e-cigarettes appeal to youth and the control policies that have been put in place.

Capturing teens is the most critical marketing strategy for e-cigarettes. Vapes were introduced as an alternative to cigarettes, but there are now e-cigarette products targeting the youth and even the underage market. One example is JUUL, an e-cigarette product reported to be widely used by students in schools.

According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Youth and the Tobacco-Free Youth Action Fund, the rise of JUUL coincides directly with and is responsible for the unprecedented surge in e-cigarette use among young people.

When JUUL was first launched in 2015, it was marketed in a very youthful way, with marketing techniques such as brilliant colors and young people dancing and using JUUL.

The survey found that e-cigarette use is higher among U.S. women in the 18 to 24 age group than among women in any other age group. Even before pregnancy and in the last trimester of pregnancy, e-cigarette use was 3.6% and 1.1%, respectively.

According to research published in 2022, e-cigarette use is also increasing among children and adolescents in Europe.

From 2014 to 2017, the prevalence of e-cigarette use among adolescents in Georgia increased from 6.1% to 12.4%.

Italy increased from 9.1% to 18.3% from 2014 to 2018.

Latvia from 10.3% to 18.5% from 2014 to 2019.

Romania from 5.7% to 7.6% from 2013 to 2017.

From 2014 to 2018, San Marino increased from 5.7% to 10.7%.

The impact of e-cigarettes on Chinese youth is also increasing year by year. according to the 2019 China Secondary School Students Tobacco Survey, the percentage of junior high school students in China who have heard of e-cigarettes and are now using e-cigarettes has increased significantly over the past five years. the percentage of junior high school students who have heard of e-cigarettes at the beginning of 2019 was 69.9% and the current rate of e-cigarette use was 2.7%, an increase of 24.9 and 1.5 percentage points compared to 2014.

According to the Research Report on E-Cigarette Marketing and Impact on Youth Health released by the Institute of Health Communication at Fudan University, the research team monitored 104 official websites of Chinese e-cigarette companies and found that only 43% of the websites had restrictions on the age of entry for users, but such restrictions did not have any specific verification requirements; 76% of e-cigarette websites did not have any health warning statements.