A new study shows an alarming number of New York City middle school students are using e-cigarettes. Now the city’s health department is worried too many kids are being lured into the vaping epidemic. According to the study in 2018, 13,000 middle schoolers in the city used e-cigarettes and 29,000 admitted to trying them.
This comes as the sixth person nationwide dies from a vaping related illness and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledges $160 million to fight vaping.
For more than 20 years, campaigns were created to protect Americans from the dangers of tobacco through advertising and school programs The results were successful. Youth smoking was reduced by 76% and adult smoking by 43% since 1996.
However, now with the introduction of e-cigarettes, much of that progress is rapidly unraveling. The product introduced into the market as the safer alternative to cigarettes is now being linked to six deaths in the United States. Health officials said each died of a severe respiratory illness linked to vaping; the latest victim was from Kansas .
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is fighting back with a $160 million campaign aimed to end what he’s calling an e-cig epidemic. The three year campaign will be led through the former mayor’s organization Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which was largely behind historic changes leading to the dramatic decline in youth cigarette smokers over the years. Together they hope to ban all flavored e-cigs, which they say is indirectly marketed to youth. On Monday, the FDA already warned Juul, who dominates 70% of the e-cigarette market, from marketing to children.
Today, it is estimated 3.6 million U.S. kids use e-cigs and one in five are high school aged.
Currently, 33 states are investigating more than 380 cases of lung illnesses associated with vaping, the majority teens and young adults.
Editor's Note: Health officials on Sept. 12 said that 380 confirmed cases and probable cases have been reported in 36 states and one U.S. territory. That marks a decrease from the 450 initially cited when officials were also including "possible" cases. This post has been edited to reflect the updated number.