E-cigarette Use on the Rise in the U.S. and Arkansas

Data released by the CDC last week showed that e-cigarette use has increased 80% in the last year. Arkansas’s rate of e-cigarette use by high school students was 13.7% in 2017 and is estimated to approach the national rate of 20.8% in 2018.

These high rates of use among minors occur even though the sale of e-cigarettes is banned in Arkansas to those under 18, including in vape shops. E-cigarettes are also banned from use on state higher-education campuses.

The FDA Commissioner released a statement on new proposed guidelines to protect children from tobacco. These guidelines will eliminate flavorings in tobacco products sold in stores and online.

Flavorings in tobacco products such as gummy bear, berry blend, chocolate, peach, cotton candy, and others, particularly in e-cigarettes and vaping products, have lured children and adolescents to initiate tobacco use and led to them becoming users of combustible products, such as cigarettes. Banning menthol for cigarettes and cigars is also being proposed.

“This is great news in our battle to protect children from starting tobacco use and suffering the harms of tobacco,” said Dr. Balamurugan, state chronic disease director and medical director for the Tobacco and Chronic Disease Branch. “At the same time, there are many opportunities to protect our youth further.”