Any adult knows that if you want to get a child’s attention, there is no enticement like candy.
This currency of youth has become the new weapon of choice for tobacco companies. They are making huge investments in nicotine-loaded e-cigarettes and selling them in a rainbow of sweet and fruity flavors like cotton candy, gummy bear, mango, and mint. They’re turning millions of young people into addicted customers, all the while insisting that they aren’t targeting kids at all.
But we know Big Tobacco’s playbook. We’ve seen this before. They are targeting kids – and putting them in serious danger.
Federal health officials announced on Friday that vaping could be the cause of at least 450 possible cases of severe lung disease — with five confirmed deaths — in 33 states. Many of the affected people are teenagers. And on Monday, the Food and Drug Administration said that Juul, the leading e-cigarette company, has violated federal regulations in promoting its tobacco products as healthier than traditional cigarettes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that people who use e-cigarettes should consider stopping and that children should not use e-cigarettes at all. Yet the number of young users is jarring. One in five high school students used e-cigarettes in 2018, an increase of 78 percent over 2017. E-cigarette use was up by nearly 50 percent among middle schoolers in the same period. More than three and a half million American children now use e-cigarettes, with 97 percent of users aged 12 to 17 choosing flavored products.