The American Lung Association greatly appreciates the opportunity to work with National City staff and elected officials on fighting back against the dangerous epidemic of teen e-cigarette use (often called vaping) that is luring youth towards a life-long deadly habit.
The FDA recently reported an alarming 78% increase e-cigarette use among high school students, partially fueled by newer products, such as JUULs, that offer kid-friendly sweet flavors, high levels of nicotine, and the real harms of irreversible lung disease. These new devices look like USB drives – not cigarettes — and teens carry, conceal and use them without fear of detection.
The epidemic has hit National City teens as well. A recent study shows that 26% of Sweetwater 11th graders have tried e-cigarettes, 7% currently use e-cigarettes, and 3% actually vape at school.
On December 4, the city council unanimously voted to move forward with a new law prohibiting e-cigarette use wherever smoking is not allowed, including parks, beaches and outdoor dining patios. Two weeks earlier the city adopted a new ordinance regulating tobacco specialty businesses (such as vape shops) that sell e-cigarettes.
On behalf of the residents of National City, we thank city leaders for taking action to protect youth from this dangerous and addictive product.
Debra Kelley resides in San Diego.