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​Tobacco 21

1/14/2020

No SmokingThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration has officially changed the federal minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21. The new minimum age applies to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaping cartridges. 

While cigarette smoking rates have reached historic lows (down to eight percent among Mecklenburg County high schoolers), e-cigarette use or vaping has increased to 20 percent, with as many as 40 percent of local youth reporting experimenting with vaping (2017 North Carolina Youth Tobacco Survey). Middle schoolers say they use e-cigarettes because a friend or family member does, and high schoolers say it’s because they’re available in different flavors. Whatever the reason, it’s not worth the risks:   

  • Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which can harm brain development, affect learning, memory and attention, and increase the risk for future drug addictions. 
  • Youth who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to use regular cigarettes. 
  • E-cigarette aerosol can contain harmful substances in addition to nicotinelike cancer-causing chemicals and flavorings that have been linked to lung disease. 
  • We don’t know the long-term consequences of using these products.  

Parents, teachers, and other youth influencers can help by educating themselves about what e-cigarettes look like – some look like a USB flash drive and are easily mistaken as such – and by having open conversations with their children and students about vaping.   

There is also a new, free text messaging program. Youth and young adults can access the new e-cigarette quit program by texting "DITCHJUUL" to 88709. Parents and other adults looking to help young people quit should text "QUIT" to (202) 899-7550. 

More information is available here