U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy
published a report last week on the emerging public health threat related to the e-cigarette/vape use among youth. While this report is the 33rd Surgeon General’s report in 53 years to address the impact of tobacco on health, it’s important to note that it is the first to focus on e-cigarettes.

This report confirms that there is no acceptable level of nicotine when it comes to our kids . It notes that e-cigarettes are often a delivery system for nicotine, a highly addictive substance that can harm the developing brain. The report also asserts that the aerosol from e-cigarettes is not harmless, and it often contains chemicals and particulates that are dangerous to both the person using these products and to anyone who may inhale them on a second-hand basis.

We know that the majority of chronic adult smokers were using tobacco by 19 years old. Our Tobacco Free Arizona program and partners across the state have been among the first public health officials in the country to proactively address this emerging public health threat imposed by young people using e-cigarettes.

Statewide youth surveys indicate that more than one-in-four teens report using or experimenting with e-cigarettes. By conducting countless interviews and focus groups, we know youth are encouraged through advertising and peer pressure to use all kinds of electronic nicotine delivery systems, a behavior that is both illegal and unhealthy. We’ve been hard at work developing educational messages for Arizona youth that de-bunk the beliefs held by many young people that the vapor they ingest is harmless and nicotine-free.

The Surgeon General’s Report highlights the indisputable truth that youth should not be exposed to nicotine. In our mission to promote the health and wellness of all Arizonans, we must never hesitate to prevent harm and are committed to bring a halt to the alarming trend of e-cigarette use among our youth.