With More Youth Using E-Cigarettes Than Ever Before, Durbin Demands FDA Action

New data released from CDC shows that youth e-cigarette usage has tripled over the last year and – for the first time – surpasses conventional tobacco use

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement today in response to findings from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey showing for the first time that more U.S. teenagers are using e-cigarettes than traditional cigarettes. The data released today shows that e-cigarette use among middle and high school students has not only surpassed conventional tobacco use, but has also tripled in just one year – growing from approximately 660,000 to 2 million high school students and 120,000 to 450,000 middle school students.

“While the FDA continues to drag its feet on finalizing commonsense regulations to protect children and teenagers from the dangers of e-cigarettes, the number of young people getting hooked on this potentially deadly habit is growing exponentially. Every day the FDA fails to move forward with federal regulation is another opportunity for Big Tobacco to peddle its newest product unchecked. The data continues to pile up, and the evidence has never been clearer: strong regulatory action on e-cigarettes cannot wait.”

This is the first time since the CDC’s National Youth Tobacco Survey began including data on e-cigarettes that youth e-cigarette use has surpassed use of every other tobacco product, including conventional cigarettes. While 9.2 percent of high school students were found to use conventional cigarettes, 13.4 percent were found to use e-cigarettes. The CDC’s 2013 National Youth Tobacco Survey showed that 4.5 percent of high school students reported using e-cigarettes, which was threefold increase in reported levels of use since 2011.

In April 2014, the FDA proposed a rule that would expand the agency’s regulatory authority to regulate e-cigarettes and other liquid nicotine delivery devices. The proposed rule fails to prohibit marketing to minors, the use of flavors, or online sales of e-cigarettes and other nicotine delivery devices to minors. The FDA has not yet finalized these proposed regulations.