U.S. Does Not Do Enough to Protect Underage Children from Smoking and E-Cigarettes, Report Says

source: Wikipedia

The U.S. failed to keep underage children, and young adolescents away from e-cigarettes, a scathing “State of Tobacco Control” report by the American Lung Association found out.  The report evaluated all the U.S. states and the District of Columbia in five areas, proved to have a positive effect on the reduction of cigarette use, including funding for tobacco prevention programs and access to smoking cessation services.

The 17th edition of the annual study showed that the use of e-cigarettes among the American youth had reached worrisome levels marking a 78 percent increase from 2017 to 2018. The American Lung Association called for urgent actions and stricter control to prevent the teen vaping academic.

Each year, 480,000 Americans die from tobacco-related diseases, reminded the report. In 2018, the percent of high school students who tried at least one tobacco product was 27.1, compared to 19.6 the year before, setting the stage for the next generation of Americans addicted to tobacco.

The report found out that forty-three states along with the District of Columbia had failing grades concerning prevention programs. In addition to that, smoke-free workplaces are available in only half of the states, and the D.C. Thirty-seven states and D.C. got a C for the support services they offer to people who quit smoking. Furthermore, forty states failed to implement effective policies to enforce the age of tobacco sales to people over 21, getting an F grade in this field.

What is even more striking, is that the U.S. Food and Drug  Administration (FDA) got an F when it comes to tobacco prevention programs. Thomas Carr, the national director of policy at The American Lung Association, accused FDA of inaction and ''putting the lives and health of Americans at risk."

 In theory, the FDA has the authority to regulate e-cigarettes since 2011. In practice, it started with the regulations in the field in 2016, imposing 18 as the minimum age of buyers. In addition to that, it has also implemented stricter requirements for retailers and standards for tobacco producers. 

Erika Sward, national assistant vice president for advocacy for the American Lung Association, recommended the U.S. to increase the minimum age to purchase nicotine products to 21 and to forbid flavored e-cigarette on the domestic market. Sward also noted that the FDA has all the powers to force tobacco companies to go through a formal approval process.

Do you agree that the minimum age to buy tobacco products in the U.S. should be raised to 21 nationwide?