The surgeon general on Thursday called the skyrocketing use of e-cigarettes among youth “a major public health concern,” saying that while more research needs to be done on its potential harms, policymakers should take strong action to keep the products out of the hands of the nation’s young people.
“We know enough right now to say that youth and young adults should not be using e-cigarettes or any other tobacco product, for that matter,” Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy said in an interview. “The key bottom line here is that the science tells us the use of nicotine-containing products by youth, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe.”
E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used form of tobacco among young people in the United States, having surpassed conventional cigarettes in 2014. During the past five years, the number of middle school and high school students who report having used e-cigarettes has tripled. Among young adults ages 18 to 24, the number has doubled.
Public health officials say that the sharp rise is troubling, in part, because of how much researchers still don’t know about the long-term effects of “vaping.