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CITRUS COUNTY SPOTLIGHTS THE YOUTH VAPING EPIDEMIC FOR TOBACCO FREE FLORIDA WEEK

By Audrey Stasko, Public Information Officer

April 22, 2019

LECANTO, FLA. — The federal government declared youth vaping, or e-cigarette use, a nationwide epidemic. In light of these concerns and the misinformation surrounding this topic, the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida and the Florida Department of Health in Citrus County (DOH-Citrus) are helping educate parents, educators, pediatricians and partners on what they need to know about vaping and youth. This year’s Tobacco Free Florida Week, April 22–28, is themed E-Epidemic: Vaping and Youth.

In Citrus County, Tobacco Free Florida Week will be proclaimed on Monday, April 22, at the Crystal River City Council, and on Tuesday, April 23, at the Citrus County Board of County Commissioners meeting. The DOH-Citrus Tobacco Program, along with other DOH-Citrus programs, will be participating in “Healthy Kids Day” on Saturday, April 27, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Citrus Memorial Health Foundation YMCA, 4127 W. Norvell Bryant Highway in Lecanto. Tobacco staff will host an interactive booth at the no-cost event to help spread the truth about the hazards of vaping and other tobacco products.

The most popular e-cigarette brand is JUUL,[1],[2] a device shaped like a USB drive that is available in a variety of flavors and easy to conceal. In fact, youth are using JUUL devices inside school bathrooms and classrooms.[3],[4],[5]  

Here are the facts:

  • Youth vaping has increased dramatically across the country and in Florida. In 2018, about 25 percent of Florida high school students reported current use of electronic vaping – a 58 percent increase compared to 2017.[6] In Citrus County, 13.1 percent of high school students reported current use of electronic vaping in 2018.[7]
  • Youth are vaping at much higher rates compared to adults. One in four Florida high school students are vaping.[8] Only about 4 percent of Florida adults are vaping.[9]
  • The long-term health effects of e-cigarettes are still unknown. E-cigarette devices heat a liquid – usually containing nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals – and produce an aerosol. This aerosol, aka “vapor,” is NOT water. Some of the ingredients in e-cigarette aerosol could also be harmful to the lungs in the long-term, according to the CDC. For example, some e-cigarette flavorings may be safe to eat but not to inhale because the gut can process more substances than the lungs.[10],[11]
  • E-cigarettes, including JUUL, typically contain nicotine, which is highly addictive.[12] Youth may be more sensitive to nicotine and feel dependent on nicotine sooner compared to adults.[13],[14],[15]According to the manufacturer, a single JUUL pod (the “liquid” refill) contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes.[16] JUUL uses nicotine salts, which can allow high levels of nicotine to be inhaled more easily and with less irritation.[17]
  • The brain continues to develop until the early to mid-20s and the developing brain is more vulnerable to the negative effects of nicotine. The effects include reduced impulse control, deficits in attention and cognition, and mood disorders. Using nicotine in adolescence may also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs.[18]
  • Evidence suggests that youth who use e-cigarettes may be at greater risk of starting to smoke regular cigarettes.[19],[20],[21],[22]

“Citrus County has seen rapid growth in the number of students who currently use vape products,” said Carmen Hernandez, DOH-Citrus Community Health Program Manager. “We want the community to know that the Florida Department of Health in Citrus County and its community partners are dedicated to addressing concerns about the youth vaping epidemic and that Tobacco Free Florida is an available, trusted resource for credible and accurate information about vaping.”

Parents and educators should advise youth of the dangers of nicotine; discourage youth tobacco use in any form, including e-cigarettes; and set a positive example by being tobacco free themselves. Tobacco Free Florida is taking steps to educate Floridians about this troubling epidemic through social media campaigns and an educational blog post, which can be found at tobaccofreeflorida.com/eepidemic.

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About Tobacco Free Florida

The Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. Since the program began in 2007, more than 212,000 Floridians have successfully quit using one of Tobacco Free Florida's free tools and services. There are now approximately 451,000 fewer adult smokers in Florida than there was 10 years ago, and the state has saved $17.7 billion in health care costs.[23] To learn more about Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way services, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com or follow the campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TobaccoFreeFlorida or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tobaccofreefla.

Editor’s Note:

The Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida is charged with addressing tobacco products, but we feel it is important to note that e-cigarette devices, including JUUL and products that resemble JUUL, can be used to deliver marijuana. Our information and resources focus on e-cigarette devices that deliver nicotine.

[1] Craver, Richard. “Juul ends 2018 with 76 percent market share.” Winston-Salem Journal. 8 Jan. 2019. www.journalnow.com/business/juul-ends-with-percent-market-share/article_6f50f427-19ec-50be-8b0c-d3df18d08759.html (Accessed 8 March 2019)
[2] King BA, Gammon DG, Marynak KL, Rogers T. Electronic Cigarette Sales in the United States, 2013-2017. JAMA. 2018;320(13):1379–1380. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.10488
[3] CDC Newsroom Releases. “Sales of JUUL e-cigarettes skyrocket, posing danger to youth.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2 Oct. 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/p1002-e-Cigarettes-sales-danger-youth.html (Accessed 8 March 2019)
[4] Truth Initiative. “Nearly 1 in 5 youth say they have seen JUUL used in school.” 23 May 2018. truthinitiative.org/news/nearly-1-5-youth-say-they-have-seen-juul-used-school (Accessed 8 March 2019)
[5] Zernike, Kate. “‘I Can’t Stop’: Schools Struggle With Vaping Explosion.” The New York Times. 2 April 2018. www.nytimes.com/2018/04/02/health/vaping-ecigarettes-addiction-teen.html (Accessed 8 March 2019)
[6] Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS), Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology, 2018.
[7] Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS), Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology, 2018.
[8] Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS), Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology, 2018.
[9] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health. BRFSS Prevalence & Trends Data [online]. 2017. [accessed Mar 29, 2019]
[10] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Quick Facts on the Risks of E-cigarettes for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults.” CDC Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. 3 Dec 2018. www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/Quick-Facts-on-the-Risks-of-E-cigarettes-for-Kids-Teens-and-Young-Adults.html (Accessed 11 March 2019)
[11] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2016.
[12] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2016.
[13] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2016.
[14] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014. Printed with corrections, January 2014.
[15] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2012.
[16] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “E-cigarettes Shaped Like USB Flash Drives: Information for Parents, Educators and Health Care Providers.” CDC Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. 18 Oct. 2018. www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/factsheet/index.html (Accessed 11 March 2019)
 [17] CDC Newsroom Releases. “Sales of JUUL e-cigarettes skyrocket, posing danger to youth.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2 Oct. 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/p1002-e-Cigarettes-sales-danger-youth.html (Accessed 8 March 2019)
[18] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2016.
[19] Berry KM, Fetterman JL, Benjamin EJ, et al. Association of Electronic Cigarette Use With Subsequent Initiation of Tobacco Cigarettes in US Youths. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(2):e187794. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.7794
[20] Miech R, Patrick ME, O'Malley PM, et al E-cigarette use as a predictor of cigarette smoking: results from a 1-year follow-up of a national sample of 12th grade students Tobacco Control 2017;26:e106-e111.
[21] National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/24952.
[22] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2016.
[23]Mann, Nathan M, Nonnemaker, James M., Thompson, Jesse. "Smoking-Attributable Health Care Costs in Florida and Potential Health Care Cost Savings Associated with Reductions in Adult Smoking Prevalence." 2016.