Surgeon General’s Press Conference on E-cigarette Use Among Youth

By | September 5, 2019


>>GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE, AND
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US FOR THIS VERY IMPORTANT GATHERING. I’D PARTICULARLY LIKE TO THANK
THOSE WHO’VE JOINED US AT HHS TODAY TO SHARE THEIR
PERSPECTIVES ON HOW E-CIGARETTE USE IS SPREADING AMONG OUR
YOUTH. I’D LIKE TO THANK EVERYBODY AT
HHS WHO’S HELPING TO UNDERSTAND AND ADDRESS THIS PROBLEM. THAT INCLUDES OUR SURGEON,
JEROME ADAMS, WHO WILL BE ISSUING THE FIRST EVER SURGEON’S
ADVISORY ON YOUTH E-CIGARETTE USED TO. IT ALSO INCLUDES FDA
COMMISSIONER SCOTT GOTTLIEB, WHO’S LEADING A COMPREHENSIVE
POLICY RESPONSE TO THE RISE OF E-CIGARETTE USE AMONG YOUNG
AMERICANS. IT ALSO INCLUDES MANY LEADERS
FROM ACROSS HHS, INCLUDING THE CDC, SAMHSA, AND NIH, WHO ARE
HELPING US BETTER TRACK THE EPIDEMIC OF YOUTH E-CIGARETTE
USE. ONE OF THE LATEST DATA POINTS WE
JUST RECEIVED COMES FROM THE NIH FUNDED MONITORING THE FUTURE
SURVEY, PRODUCED BY SCHOLARS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN. THIS IMPORTANT ANNUAL SURVEY OF
AMERICAN SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS, COLLEGE STUDENTS AND A
YOUNG ADULTS PROVIDES INSIGHT INTO HOW SUBSTANCE USE IS
CHANGING AMONG THESE POPULATIONS. FROM 2017 TO 2018, THE
MONITORING THE FUTURE SURVEY FOUND THAT THE RISE IN
E-CIGARETTE USE BY TENTH GRADERS AND 12TH GRADERS IS THE LARGEST
EVER SINGLE YEAR INCREASE IN THE USE OF A SUBSTANCE RECORDED BY
THE SURVEY FOR THOSE GROUPS. IN THE LAST YEAR, 12TH GRADERS
REPORTING E-CIGARETTE USE IN THE PAST 30 DAYS ROSE FROM 11% TO
21%. ALMOST DOUBLING. AND TAKING US TO WHERE MORE THAN
1 IN 5 HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS REPORT USING E-CIGARETTES IN THE
PAST 30 DAYS. MONITORING THE FUTURE HAS BEEN
SURVEYING AMERICAN 12TH GRADERS EVERY YEAR SINCE 1975, AND THEY
HAVE NEVER SEEN A SPIKE IN USE OF A PARTICULAR SUBSTANCE OF
MORE THAN 5 PERCENTAGE POINTS. THIS DRAMATIC RISE IS CONSISTENT
FROM WHAT WE’VE SEEN WITH THE NATIONAL YOUTH TOBACCO SURVEY,
WHICH FOUND A 78% INCREASE IN HIGH SCHOOLERS’ E-CIGARETTE USE
FROM 2017 TO 2018. THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT IN THE
DATASETS WE USE, WE HAVE NEVER SEEN USE OF ANY SUBSTANCE, AND
BY AMERICA’S YOUNG PEOPLE, RISE THIS RAPIDLY. THIS IS AN UNPRECEDENTED
CHALLENGE. IT COMES AT A TIME WHEN THERE
ARE ENCOURAGING SIGNS IN OTHER AREAS. USE OF SOME OTHER NICOTINE
PRODUCTS IS DROPPING. USE OF ALCOHOL AND OPIOIDS IS
DROPPING TOO. BUT WE’RE AT RISK OF A HUGE
SHARE OF A WHOLE GENERATION DEVELOPING AN ADDICTION TO
NICOTINE AND THAT IS NOT A FUTURE ANYONE WANTS IN OUR
COUNTRY. AT HHS, WE’VE BEEN DEVELOPING A
COMPREHENSIVE BALANCED APPROACH TO THIS CHALLENGE, BEING SURE
THEY CAN BE USED AS AN OFF-RAMP TO CIGARETTES. TRADITIONAL COMBUSTIBLE
CIGARETTES ARE THE LEADING PREVENTABLE CAUSE OF DEATH IN
THE UNITED STATES AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE OFF-RAMP FROM THEM
IS A PUBLIC HEALTH PRIORITY. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, WE CANNOT
ALLOW E-CIGARETTES TO BECOME AN ON RAMP TO NICOTINE ADDICTION
FOR YOUNGER AMERICANS SO WE WILL CONTINUE RAISING AWARENESS AND
CHOOSING THE RIGHT POLICY SOLUTIONS. YOU’LL HEAR MORE ABOUT THAT FROM
SURGEON GENERAL ADAMS AND THEN FROM COMMISSIONER GOTTLIEB. I WANT TO REITERATE,
E-CIGARETTES COULD HELP MANY AMERICAN ADULTS AND THEIR
ADDICTION TO TRADITIONAL CIGARETTES, BUT WE CANNOT LET
THEM ENSNARE YOUNGER AMERICANS INTO A NEW ADDICTION. I’D NOW LIKE TO HAND THINGS OVER
TO ADMIRAL JEROME ADAMS, WHO HAS MADE ADDICTION AND MENTAL HEALTH
ISSUES A TOP PRIORITY DURING HIS TIME AS AMERICA’S TOP DOCTOR. I’M GRATEFUL FOR HIS DECISION TO
SHINE A LIGHT ON THIS ISSUE TODAY, AND I’LL HAND IT OVER TO
HIM NOW. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. ADMIRAL? [APPLAUSE]
>>THANK YOU SO MUCH, SECRETARY AZAR, FOR THAT STRONG, STRONG
OPENING. THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE
TODAY. THE OFFICE OF THE SURGEON
GENERAL HAS A LONG HISTORY OF INVOLVEMENT AROUND PUBLIC
AWARENESS OF THE RISK OF TOBACCO USE. IN 1964, THE FIRST SURGEON
GENERAL’S REPORT ON SMOKING AND HEALTH WAS RELEASED. FOREVER CHANGING THE DISCUSSION
AROUND THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY AND CEMENTING IN THE MINDS OF ALL
AMERICANS THAT SMOKING WAS INDEED A HAZARD TO THEIR HEALTH. MUCH HAS CHANGED IN THE 54 YEARS
SINCE THAT SEMINAL REPORT WAS RELEASED. TECHNOLOGY HAS TRANSFORMED OUR
LIVES AND DEFINED THE 21ST CENTURY IN WAYS THAT MY
PREDECESSORS COULD HAVE NEVER IMAGINED. INCLUDING THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE
OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS BEING MARKETED TO AND USED BY
AMERICANS. COMBUSTIBLE CIGARETTE SMOKING
HAS SHARPLY DECLINED OVER THE PAST HALF CENTURY, WITH THE
INCREASED AWARENESS OF THE DANGERS POSED BY SMOKING AND
ADOPTION OF EVIDENCE-BASED STRATEGIES THAT WE KNOW WORK TO
EFFECTIVELY PREVENT AND REDUCE TOBACCO PRODUCT USE. BUT IN RECENT YEARS, THE TOBACCO
PRODUCT LANDSCAPE HAS EVOLVED TO INCLUDE A DIVERSE ARRAY OF NEW
PRODUCTS, INCLUDING ELECTRONIC PRODUCTS SUCH AS E-CIGARETTES. PRODUCTS THAT ARE EASILY
CONCEALED THAT MOST PARENTS WOULD NOT EVEN RECOGNIZE AS A
DEVICE THAT THEIR YOUNG PEOPLE COULD USE TO CONSUME NICOTINE. THESE PRODUCTS MAY HOLD
POTENTIAL TO HELP ADULT SMOKERS QUIT, AND I’VE PERSONALLY
VISITED VAPE SHOPS, TALKED TO ADULT USERS AND MET WITH
INDUSTRY ADVOCATES TO HEAR THEIR STORIES. BUT THE FACT IS, THE SCIENCE IS
STILL EMERGING AND EVOLVING ON THAT FRONT. HOWEVER, IN THE INTERIM, WE
ALREADY HAVE ENOUGH SCIENCE TO TELL US THAT YOUTH USE OF
E-CIGARETTES IS UNSAFE, AND EVEN MOST OF THE E-CIGARETTE
ADVOCATES I TALK TO AGREE THAT YOUTH USE IS A PROBLEM THAT
SHOULD BE ADDRESSED. ALMOST EXACTLY TWO YEARS AGO,
MANY OF YOU SAT IN THIS VERY ROOM AS THE OFFICE OF THE
SURGEON GENERAL RELEASED A REPORT ON E-CIGARETTE USE AMONG
YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULTS. THAT REPORT COMPREHENSIVELY
REVIEWED THE PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE OF E-CIGARETTES AND ITS IMPACT
ON YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULTS ACROSS OUR COUNTRY. WE KNOW THAT NICOTINE EXPOSURE
DURING ADOLESCENCE CAN UNIQUELY HARM THE DEVELOPING ADOLESCENT
BRAIN, IMPACTING LEARNING, MEMORY AND ATTENTION. WE KNOW THAT EXPOSURE DURING
THIS CRITICAL BRAIN PERIOD CAN LEAD TO FURTHER ADDICTIONS. AND WE KNOW THAT THE NOTION THAT
E-CIGARETTE AEROSOL AS HARMLESS WATER VAPOR, SOMETHING MY
14-YEAR-OLD SON THOUGHT WAS TRUE; A MYTH. ALTHOUGH E-CIGS CONTAIN FEWER
TOXICANTS AND COMBUSTIBLE TOBACCO PRODUCTS, THEY CAN
EXPOSE USERS TO HARMFUL CHEMICALS IN ADDITION TO
NICOTINE. LESS HARM DOES NOT MEAN
HARMLESS. STUDIES SHOW YOUTH LIKE MY SON
HAVE NO CLUE WHAT’S IN THESE PRODUCTS MOST OF THE TIME. AND SHOCKINGLY, AT LEAST IT TO
ME AS A PARENT, A THIRD OF YOUTH WHO HAVE EVER USED E-CIGARETTES
HAVE USED MARIJUANA IN THEM. YET TWO YEARS AFTER MY
PREDECESSOR SOUNDED THE ALARM BELLS, YOUTH E-CIGARETTE USE HAS
SKYROCKETED. SO MUCH SO TODAY THAT I AM
OFFICIALLY DECLARING E-CIGARETTE USE AMONG YOUTH AN EPIDEMIC IN
THE UNITED STATES. AND I DON’T WANT THERE TO BE ANY
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THIS. I DON’T USE THAT WORD
“EPIDEMIC,” WHICH MEANS A SUDDEN INCREASE ABOVE NORMALLY EXPECTED
NUMBERS, I DO NOT USE THAT WORD LIGHTLY. AS SECRETARY AZAR LAID OUT,
WE’RE IN THE MIDST OF A HISTORIC AND UNPRECEDENTED INCREASE IN
YOUTH USE OF ANY SUBSTANCE, WITH 12TH GRADE E-CIGARETTE USE
DOUBLING, DOUBLING IN JUST THE PAST YEAR. JUST AS THE OFFICE OF THE
SURGEON GENERAL PREVIOUS DECLARED UNDERAGE DRINKING A
CRITICAL HEALTH PROBLEM, TODAY WE MUST PROTECT OUR NATION’S
YOUNG PEOPLE FROM A LIFETIME OF NICOTINE ADDICTION AND
ASSOCIATED PROBLEMS BY IMMEDIATELY ADDRESSING YOUTH
E-CIGARETTE USE. WE’RE FAR TOO OFTEN IN HEALTH
AND IN PUBLIC HEALTH LATE TO THE GAME. BUT NOW IS THE TIME TO TAKE
ACTION. WE NEED TO PROTECT OUR YOUNG
PEOPLE FROM ALL TOBACCO PRODUCTS, INCLUDING
E-CIGARETTES. WE ALREADY HAVE A HALF CENTURY
OF SCIENCE, SHOWING US EVIDENCE-BASED STRATEGIES THAT
WORK TO PREVENT YOUTH TOBACCO USE. HOWEVER, THE TIMES HAVE CHANGED
AND SO MUST WE. IT’S CRITICAL THAT WE NOW APPLY
THESE PROVEN STRATEGIES TO E-CIGARETTES INCLUDING USB FLASH
DRIVE-SHAPED PRODUCTS SUCH AS JUUL, THE PRODUCT I JUST SHOWED
YOU. AND WHEN I SAY PROTECT OUR KIDS,
AGAIN, I’M TALKING ABOUT MY OWN KIDS. MY 14, 13 AND 9-YEAR-OLDS ARE
ALL TOO FAMILIAR WITH THESE DEVICES, HAVING BEEN EXPOSED TO
THEM IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. I REMEMBER MY MIDDLE SON COMING
HOME FROM SCHOOL HOLDING A DEVICE THAT HE FOUND IN THE
PLAYGROUND OF HIS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL JUST A FEW YEARS AGO. I WANT AMERICA TO KNOW THAT
EVERYONE CAN PLAY A ROLE IN PROTECTING OUR NATION’S YOUTH
FROM THIS COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE HEALTH RISK. I’M HERE TODAY TO REMIND
PARENTS, TEACHERS, HEALTH PROFESSIONALS, DECISION-MAKERS,
FEDERAL AGENCIES, AND THE E-CIGARETTE INDUSTRY THAT WE ALL
CAN TAKE ACTIONS TO PREVENT AND REDUCE E-CIGARETTE USE AMONG OUR
YOUNG PEOPLE. WE ALL NEED TO PLEDGE TO KEEP
OUR YOUTH NICOTINE-FREE. I PLEDGE TO YOU AS YOUR SURGEON
GENERAL TO USE MY BULLY PULPIT TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN FROM A
LIFETIME OF NICOTINE ADDICTION AND ASSOCIATED HEALTH RISKS BY
IMMEDIATELY ADDRESSING THE EPIDEMIC OF YOUTH E-CIGARETTE
USE. I CALL ON ALL PARENTS TO LEARN
ABOUT THE DIFFERENT SHAPES AND TYPES AND TO TALK TO YOUR KID
ABOUT WHY E-CIGARETTES ARE HARMFUL TO THEM AND WHETHER OR
NOT THEY’RE ENCOUNTERING THEM IN THEIR DAY TO DAY LIVES. I CALL ON TEACHERS, SCHOOL
ADMINISTRATORS AND OTHERS TO DEVELOP, IMPLEMENT AND ENFORCE
TOBACCO-FREE SCHOOL POLICIES AND PREVENTION PROGRAMS THAT ARE
FREE FROM TOBACCO INDUSTRY INFLUENCE AND THAT ADDRESS ALL
SHAPES AND TYPES OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS, INCLUDING
E-CIGARETTES. YOU CAN ENGAGE YOUR STUDENTS IN
THE DANGERS OF E-CIGARETTE USE USING MATERIALS FROM FDA AND
FROM SCHOLASTIC. AND AS THE NATION’S DOCTOR, I
CALL ON MY FELLOW HEALTH PROFESSIONALS TO ASK ABOUT
E-CIGARETTES WHEN SCREENING PATIENTS FOR TOBACCO USE, AND
EDUCATE PATIENTS AND THEIR PARENTS ABOUT THE RISK OF ALL
FORMS OF TOBACCO PRODUCT USE, INCLUDING E-CIGARETTES FOR YOUNG
PEOPLE. I JUST TOOK MY KIDS IN FOR THEIR
ANNUAL CHECKUPS. WHEN YOU’RE DOING AN ANNUAL
CHECKUP FOR KIDS, ARE YOU ASKING THOSE CHILDREN, ARE YOU USING
TOBACCO PRODUCTS INCLUDING E-CIGARETTES? DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT TO ASK
THEM ABOUT? ARE YOU ASKING THEIR PARENTS IF
THEY’RE HAVING CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THESE DEVICES AND THE
DANGERS THAT THEY CAN POSE? I ALSO CALL ON STATES,
COMMUNITIES, TERRITORIES, AND TRIBES TO IMPLEMENT THE
EVIDENCE-BASED STRATEGIES THAT WE KNOW WORK TO PREVENT TOBACCO
USE AMONG YOUTH. THESE STRATEGIES INCLUDE
SMOKE-FREE AIR POLICIES THAT INCLUDE RESTRICTING YOUNG
PEOPLE’S ACCESS TO E-CIGARETTES AND THEY EVEN INCLUDE STRATEGIES
TO REDUCE ACCESS TO FLAVORED TOBACCO PRODUCTS BY YOUNG
PEOPLE. WE KNOW THE NUMBER ONE REASON
YOUNG PEOPLE SAY THAT THEY TRY THESE DEVICES IS BECAUSE THEY
HAVE FLAVORS IN THEM. NOW, WHILE PARENTS, EDUCATORS,
HEALTH PROFESSIONALS AND STATES ARE ALL IMPORTANT PLAYERS, THEY
CAN’T DO IT ALONE. WE IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, WE
KNOW WE HAVE A CRITICAL ROLE IN THIS EFFORT. I AM SO EXTREMELY THANKFUL TO
THE CDC’S EFFORTS TO HELP LIFT UP THIS ISSUE, SAMHSA, NIH,
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, AND HUD ALL HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY. BUT THE FACT IS, NO FEDERAL
ENTITY HAS DONE MORE TO RAISE THIS ISSUE THAN OUR COLLEAGUES
AT THE FDA. SO I’M VERY PROUD NOW TO
INTRODUCE FDA COMMISSIONER SCOTT GOTTLIEB, MY FRIEND, MY
COLLEAGUE, AND A STRONG, STRONG ADVOCATE FOR REDUCING
E-CIGARETTE USE AMONG YOUTH TO COME TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT HOW
THEY’RE ADDRESSING THIS ISSUE. DR. GOTTLIEB? [APPLAUSE]
>>THANK YOU ALL FOR JOINING US. I WANT TO THANK THE SURGEON
GENERAL AND OTHERS FOR COMING AND I WANT TO THANK THE SURGEON
GENERAL AND THE SECRETARY FOR THE ATTENTION THEY’VE SHOWN TO
THIS ISSUE. IT’S THE HELPED GALVANIZE
SUPPORT FOR THE ACTIONS WE’VE BEEN ABLE TO TAKE TO ADDRESS
WHAT WE SEE AS AN EPIDEMIC OF THE YOUTH USE OF E-CIGARETTES. AN EPIDEMIC THAT’S NOW BEING
CONFIRMED BY TWO DIFFERENT SURVEYS. TWO DIFFERENT VERY RIGOROUS
SURVEYS INCLUDING THE NATIONAL YOUTH TOBACCO SURVEY WHICH WE
RELEASED ABOUT A MONTH AGO. WE’VE STARTED TO TAKE SOME
AGGRESSIVE STEPS, WE’RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO TAKE STEPS OVER THE
COMING MONTHS TO TRY TO ADDRESS THIS EPIDEMIC USE OF
E-CIGARETTES BY YOUTH, WITH MESSAGES ABOUT E-CIGARETTE USE. IT’S MY BELIEF THAT WE’VE BEEN
SUCCESSFUL IN THIS COUNTRY AT STIGMATIZING TOBACCO USE AMONG
KIDS. KIDS RECOGNIZE THAT USING
COMBUSTIBLE TOBACCO PRODUCTS IS UNHEALTHY AND WRONG. WE HAVEN’T HAD THE SAME SUCCESS
WHEN IT COMES TO THE E-CIGARETTES AND WE NEED TO
REVERSE THAT AND START EDUCATING YOUTH, TEENS, CHILDREN, ABOUT
THE DANGERS OF USING E-CIGARETTES AND THAT’S WHAT OUR
CAMPAIGN IS TARGETED TO DO. THE OTHER KEY COMPONENT OF WHAT
WE’RE TRYING TO DO IS LIMIT THE ACCESS AND APPEAL THAT THESE
PRODUCTS HAVE TO KIDS AND THAT STARTS WITH THE ROLE OF THE
FLAVORS. AS THE SURGEON GENERAL NOTED,
THE FLAVORS ARE THE PRIMARY VEHICLE BY WHICH KIDS ARE
INITIATING ON ALL TOBACCO PRODUCTS, NOT JUST E-CIGARETTES
BUT ALSO COMBUSTIBLE TOBACCO AND FLAVORED CIGARS. THAT STARTS WITH FLAVORS IN
E-CIGARETTES. SO THE FDA ANNOUNCED LAST MONTH
A SERIES OF POLICY STEPS TO PUT IN PLACE SIGNIFICANTLY ENHANCED
AGE VERIFICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR THE FLAVORED PRODUCTS IN
CONVENIENCE STORES WHERE WE KNOW A LOT OF KIDS ARE ACCESSING
THESE PRODUCTS. WE’LL BE FOLLOWING THROUGH ON
THAT COMMITMENT IN THE EARLY PART OF THIS YEAR, AND ENFORCING
THOSE MEASURES. AND WE’RE ALSO GOING TO BE
STEPPING UP OUR ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES WHEN IT COMES TO THE
SALES OF THESE PRODUCTS TO CHILDREN. YOU’RE GOING TO SEE FDA TAKING
SOME AGGRESSIVE STEPS IN ADDITION TO STEPS WE’VE ALREADY
TAKEN IN THE PAST MONTHS TO TARGET THE SITES WHERE KIDS ARE
GETTING ACCESS TO THESE PRODUCTS WHICH IS INCREASINGLY THE
CONVENIENCE STORES SO WE’RE GOING TO BE IN THOSE STORES
DOING OUR OWN SURVEYS, UNDERCOVER PURCHASES AND HOLDING
PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE WHEN THEY SELL THESE PRODUCTS TO KIDS AND
HOLDING THEM ACCOUNTABLE WHEN THEY’RE RECIDIVISTS AND REPEAT
OFFENDERS AND CONTINUE TO SELL THESE PRODUCTS TO KIDS. I WANT TO JUST CLOSE BY TELLING
YOU HOW IMPORTANT IT’S BEEN FOR FDA TO HAVE THE SUPPORT OF THE
SURGEON GENERAL AND SECRETARY. AS WE’VE ADVANCED THESE STEPS. THEY’VE BEEN STEADFAST IN THEIR
COMMITMENT TO THESE ISSUES IN TRYING TO SEE US ADDRESS THESE
REALLY EPIDEMIC PROPORTION OF USE AMONG CHILDREN, AND TRYING
TO RESOLVE THIS CRISIS, AND WE’RE COMMITTED TO DOING THAT,
AND I’M HOPEFUL WE WILL. THANKS A LOT. [APPLAUSE]
>>THANKS AGAIN, DR. GOTTLIEB. YOU KNOW, IN GOVERNMENT, IT CAN
BE TOUGH BUSINESS, AND THERE’S A SAYING THAT IF NOBODY’S HAPPY
WITH YOU, THEN YOU’RE PROBABLY IN THE RIGHT SPOT RIGHT IN THE
MIDDLE, AND SCOTT HAS TAKEN A LOT OF HITS FOR HIS STAND, BUT I
WANT YOU ALL TO HEAR ME SAY THIS AGAIN, THAT NEITHER SCOTT NOR I
ARE AGAINST EXPLORING THE HARM REDUCTION POTENTIAL OF THESE
PRODUCTS. BUT WE WILL NOT STAND FOR
ANOTHER YEAR OF EXPONENTIAL, UNPRECEDENTED HISTORIC RISES IN
YOUTH USE OF THESE PRODUCTS, AND WE BOTH ARE CONVINCED THAT THERE
IS BALANCE TO BE FOUND IN THIS SITUATION. BUT I DON’T WANT YOU TO JUST
TAKE IT FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. WE WANT YOU TO HEAR FROM TWO
PEOPLE WHO HAVE FIRSTHAND KNOWLEDGE ON THIS ISSUE. WE’VE GOT TWO VERY SPECIAL
INDIVIDUALS WHO GRACIOUSLY AGREED TO JOINS US AND TO SHARE
THEIR EXPERIENCES. I’M GOING TO QUICKLY INTRODUCE
BOTH OF THEM. THE FIRST, WHO I HAD THE
PLEASURE OF MEETING THIS MORNING, WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL
YOUNG LADY. MISS SARAH RYAN. SHE’S A HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR, AND
PASSIONATE TOBACCO CONTROL ADVOCATE FROM MASSACHUSETTS. SARAH IS ACTUALLY APPLYING FOR
COLLEGES RIGHT NOW, SO ANYONE WHO’S LISTENING, IF SHE’S ON
YOUR LIST, YOU ALL NEED TO ACCEPT THIS YOUNG LADY. SHE’S A MEMBER OF THE
84 MOVEMENT STATEWIDE LEADERSHIP TEAM AND A NATIONAL YOUTH
AMBASSADOR FOR THE CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS. IN SARAH’S TIME AS A YOUNG
ACTIVIST, SHE’S TESTIFIED AT LOCAL HEARINGS, MANY STATEWIDE
EVENTS, BEEN INTERVIEWED BY MEDIA OUTLETS AND SPOKEN TO
VARIOUS PEOPLE WITHIN CONGRESS. SARAH ALSO CO-FOUNDED THE YOUTH
BRANCH OF HER TOWN’S SUBSTANCE USE COALITION CALLED “BULLDOGS
CARE.” SHE BELIEVES IN THE POWER OF
YOUNG PEOPLE USING THEIR VOICE AND WANTS TO SHOW OTHER YOUTH
HOW THEY CAN CHANGE THE WORLD. AND AN ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA
PUBLIC USE COUNSELOR — SHE’S
TRAINED TO LISTEN AND RESPOND EFFECTIVELY TO THE NEEDS OF
STUDENTS, FAMILIES, AND COMMUNITY GROUPS. ORIGINALLY FROM PERU, SHE
RECEIVED HER BACHELOR’S IN PSYCHOLOGY FROM THE CATHOLIC
UNIVERSITY INLY MA, PERU, HER MASTERS IN CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK
FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND IN BALTIMORE AND DOCTORATE IN
ARLINGTON. HER FATHER-IN-LAW, SHE TOLD ME
EARLIER, IS IN THE PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME, FORMER CLEVELAND
BROWNS PLAYER. SO YOU’VE GOT TO MAKE SURE YOU
INTRODUCE ME TO HIM. [LAUGHTER]
BUT SARAH, PLEASE, COME ON UP. [APPLAUSE]
>>GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE. I WANTED TO THANK SECRETARY
AZAR, DR. ADAMS AND DR. GOTTLIEB
FOR FOCUSING ON SUCH AN IMPORTANT ISSUE TODAY. UNFORTUNATELY, THE E-CIGARETTE
EPIDEMIC IS AN ISSUE THAT I KNOW ALL TOO WELL. I GOT INVOLVED IN TOBACCO
CONTROL ABOUT THREE YEARS AGO, AFTER SEEING KIDS YOUNGER THAN
ME START USING E-CIGARETTES IN MY HOMETOWN. I HAVE FAMILY MEMBERS WHO
STARTED SMOKING WHEN THEY WERE KIDS, BEFORE THEY REALIZED HOW
DANGEROUS CIGARETTES COULD BE. I’M WORRIED THAT WE’RE SEEING
THE SAME ISSUE NOW, JUST A FEW DECADES LATER, BECAUSE KIDS ARE
BEING TARGETED WITH E-CIGARETTES, UNAWARE THAT THESE
NEW PRODUCTS COULD GET THEM HOOKED FOR LIFE. IN THE PAST YEAR, THE USE OF
E-CIGARETTES HAS EXPLODED. IN MY TOWN. UNTIL MY TOWN PASSED A LOCAL
FLAVOR RESTRICTION A COUPLE MONTHS AGO, A CONVENIENCE STORE
ACROSS FROM THE SCHOOL SOLD A MYRIAD OF TOBACCO FLAVORED
PRODUCTS INCLUDING E-CIGARETTES. VAPING HAS BECOME ENGRAINED IN
MY SCHOOL’S CULTURE. THESE PRODUCTS ARE USED BY KIDS
AT EVERY AGE IN EVERY SOCIAL CIRCLE. I’D HEARD ABOUT STUDENTS USING
JUUL BEFORE BUT THIS YEAR IT REALLY SPREAD LIKE WILDFIRE. AT ONE POINT, THE SCHOOL HAD TO
SHUT DOWN ONE OF THE BATHROOMS AS VAPING HAD BECOME SO
COMMONPLACE AND IT DIDN’T HELP MUCH BECAUSE KIDS WERE STILL
TRADING PODS AND EVEN VAPING DURING CLASS. MY EYES WERE REALLY OPENED TO
HOW BIG OF AN ISSUE THIS HAD BECOME WHEN A 6TH GRADER IN MY
SCHOOL CAME UP TO ME AND TOLD ME THAT IT WAS EASIER TO GET
SOMEONE TO LEND HIM A JUUL THAN A PENCIL. KIDS HAVE A LOT OF
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT E-CIGARETTES. THEY THINK THAT THEY’RE JUST
INHALING THE VAPORS AND THE FLAVORS AND THEY DON’T REALIZE
THAT THESE PRODUCTS CONTAIN NICOTINE. THEY DON’T REALIZE THAT THE
NICOTINE CAN INTERFERE WITH THEIR BRAIN DEVELOPMENT, THAT
THE SWEET FLAVORS DON’T MAKE THE PRODUCTS ANY LESS DANGEROUS OR
THAT USING E-CIGARETTES CAN MAKE US MORE LIKELY TO TRY OTHER
TOBACCO PRODUCTS LATER ON. WE’RE SO CLOSE TO CREATING THE
FIRST TOBACCO-FREE GENERATION, BUT I’M WORRIED THAT
E-CIGARETTES ARE GOING TO ERASE ALL OF THE PROGRESS WE’VE MADE. THIS EPIDEMIC IS INFILTRATING
THE LIVES OF KIDS ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY. WE CAN’T LET THIS HAPPEN. I CALL ON ALL MY PEERS TO STAND
STRONG AND REJECT THE USE OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS, INCLUDING
E-CIGARETTES. AS HONORED AS I AM TO BE HERE, I
WISH I DIDN’T HAVE TO BE. I’M ENCOURAGED BY THE FACT THAT
OUR COUNTRY’S HEALTH OFFICIALS ARE SOUNDING THE ALARM ON THESE
PRODUCTS, BUT OUR PARENTS AND TEACHERS NEED TO KNOW HOW DYING
DANGEROUS THESE PRODUCTS CAN BE. I PLEDGE TO JOIN THE U.S.
SURGEON GENERAL TO PROTECT KIDS FROM A LIFETIME OF NICOTINE
ADDICTION AND ASSOCIATED HEALTH RISKS. THANK YOU. [APPLAUSE]
>>MELA, COME ON UP.>>GOOD MORNING. LIKE THE SURGEON INDICATE THE,
I’M A SUBSTANCE ABUSE COUNSELS ALREADY FOR ARLINGTON PUBLIC
SCHOOLS IN ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA. I’M ONE OF SEVEN COUNSELORS
WORKING IN HIGH SCHOOL AND MIDDLE SCHOOL. AS A COUNSELOR, I’M DEEPLY
CONCERNED WITH THE PROLIFERATION AND SHARP INCREASE IN THE USE OF
E-CIGARETTES BY MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS. THE SURVEY THAT WE HEAR IS TRUE,
WE SEE IT EVERY DAY. STUDENTS ARE BRINGING
E-CIGARETTES TO THE SCHOOLS, USING THEM IN THE SCHOOL
BATHROOM AND AT TIMES DURING CLASS. HOW DO WE KNOW THAT? BECAUSE THEY TAKE SELFIES OF
THEMSELVES VAPING IN THE CLASSROOM. SOME OF THE FACTORS THAT ARE
CONTINUING TO THIS INCREASE INCLUDE THE RELEASE OF MANY
INGREDIENTS OF E-CIGARETTES IN WATER AND FLAVORS. FEW STUDENTS AND PARENTS ARE
AWARE OF THE NICOTINE COUNT IN E-CIGARETTES AND THE RISK OF
BECOMING ADDICTED TO NICOTINE IN A VERY SHORT TIME. OTHER FACTORS ARE THE WAY
E-CIGARETTES ARE EASILY CONCEALED. THEIR SMELL IS MORE DIFFICULT TO
DETECT, THEY DON’T SMELL LIKE REGULAR SMOKING CIGARETTES AND
THE CLOUDS OF VAPOR DISSIPATE SO QUICKLY IT’S HARD TO REALLY SEE
THAT SOMEBODY IS USING AN E-CIGARETTE. OUR COUNSELORS AT MIDDLE AND
HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL HAVE INCREASED THE NUMBER OF CLASSROOM
PRESENTATIONS OF ALL SUBSTANCES OF USE BUT ESPECIALLY
E-CIGARETTES. THEY DEDICATE MORE TIME TO
OUTREACH ACTIVITIES, COMMUNITY AND PARENT PRESENTATIONS,
TEACHING BASICALLY COMMUNITY MEMBERS AND PARENTS ABOUT HOW
THE DIFFERENT E-CIGARETTES LOOK LIKE. JUST TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF WHAT
WE’RE SEEING AT THE SCHOOLS, LET ME GIVE YOU TWO EXAMPLES. ONE IS A HIGH SCHOOL WHERE WE
SAW AN INCREASE FROM THE 16/17 SCHOOL YEAR WHERE ONLY TWO CASES
OF E-CIGARETTES — STUDENTS WERE CAUGHT WITH E-CIGARETTES. BY YEAR 2017-2018, WE SAW
43 CASES. AND THOSE ARE THE CASES THAT WE
CAUGHT THE KIDS. YOU CAN MULTIPLY THAT BECAUSE
THEY SMOKE IN THE BATHROOMS AND IT’S A GROUP SITUATION. ANOTHER EXAMPLE, I WORK AT A
VERY SMALL HIGH SCHOOL, MAXIMUM CLASS SIZE 35 KIDS. LAST YEAR WE HAD ONLY ONE
INCIDENT OF E-CIGARETTES IN THE SCHOOL. THIS YEAR, FOUR MONTHS INTO THE
SCHOOL YEAR, WE HAVE SIX INCIDENTS. SO THE NUMBERS ARE TRUE. I MEAN, IT’S JUST AN EXPLODING
PROBLEM. THEREFORE, THIS IS AN ISSUE OF
CONCERN FOR THE SCHOOL LEVEL. STUDENTS ADDICTED TO NICOTINE
WILL LEAVE CLASS TO USE E-CIGARETTES BECAUSE IT’S NOT
ENOUGH TO GO IN BETWEEN THE BREAKS SO THEY ASK PERMISSION TO
GO TO THE BATHROOM. THEY SPEND A LOT OF TIME
ACQUIRING, USING, PLANNING WHEN THEY’RE GOING TO USE BECAUSE
THEY’RE BECOMING HOOKED ON IT. AND, THIS COMPROMISES THEIR
ATTENTION TO CLASS, SPORTS, AND THEIR HEALTH IN GENERAL. SO AS A SCHOOL PERSONNEL, OUR OH
MISSION IS TO EDUCATE STUDENTS AS WELL AS PARENTS. PARENTS ARE THE FIRST LINE OF
DEFENSE IN THIS PROBLEM AND PROTECTIVE FACTOR IN NICOTINE
AND ANY OTHER ADDICTION. PARENTS NEED TO TALK TO THEIR
KIDS ON A REGULAR BASIS ON THE RESULTS OF USING E-CIGARETTES
AND IMPACT ON THEIR WELL-BEING. THEY SHOULD INCREASE THEIR
SUPERVISION OF ALL ELECTRONIC DEVICES AT HOME AS SUPERVISING
MORE. IT’S A TIME OF INDEPENDENCE BUT
THEY NEED US MORE. AS A PARENT OF A TEENAGER, I
HAVE A 15-YEAR-OLD AT HOME, I’M INVITING ALL PARENTS AND
CARETAKERS TO PLEASE JOIN WITH US TO FIGHT AGAINST A LIFETIME
OF NICOTINE ADDICTION AND ASSOCIATED HEALTH RISKS. THANK YOU. [APPLAUSE]
>>SCOTT, CAN YOU JOIN US UP HERE? SO WE HAVE NEW DEVICES AND WE
NEED TO ADAPT WHAT WE’RE DOING. THE DOCTOR SAID FOLKS ARE TAKING
SELFIES OF THEIR E-CIGARETTE DEVICES, SO I WANT US ALL TO GET
A SELFIE. WE’RE GOING TO DO A VIDEO HERE
OF PLEDGING, AND WE’RE GOING TO SAY “WE PLEDGE TO KEEP OUR YOUTH
NICOTINE FREE.” WE’RE ALL GOING TO DO THIS
TOGETHER. ON THE COUNT OF THREE. ONE, TWO, THREE: WE PLEDGE TO
KEEP OUR YOUTH NICOTINE-FREE. THAT’S GOING TO BE ON THE
SURGEON GENERAL’S WEBSITE, SO I WANT YOU ALL TO TWEET THAT OUT. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH. THAT WAS JUST TREMENDOUS. I WANT TO THANK SARAH AND MILA,
WAIT A MINUTE TO THANK THE SECRETARY, I WANT TO THANK THE
FDA COMMISSIONER GOTTLIEB FOR SHARING THEIR POWERFUL STORIES
AND THE WORK THAT THEY’RE DOING TO COMBAT THIS TERRIBLE AND TRUE
EPIDEMIC. IN ADDITION TO ISSUING AN
ADVISORY TODAY, I ALSO WANTED TO SHARE THAT WE’VE DEVELOPED A
30-SECOND RADIO PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT AS WELL AS A PRINT
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT. YOU’RE THE FIRST TO SEE THIS
TODAY AND FOR THE MEDIA, IT’S IN YOUR PRESS PACKETS. I THINK IT’S POSTED UP THERE ON
POWERPOINT. THESE AND OTHER USEFUL MATERIALS
ARE AVAILABLE ON E-CIGARETTES.SURGEONGENERAL.GOV. NOW, BEFORE WE TAKE QUESTIONS, I
NEED TO RECOGNIZE EVERYONE IN THE AUDIENCE. YOUTH, PARENTS, YOUTH
INFLUENCERS, PROVIDERS, WHO WILL PLAY A ROLE IN RECOGNIZING AND
REDUCING E-CIGARETTE USE AMONG YOUTH. I WANT TO PERSONALLY THANK MY
COLLEAGUES AT THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION,
THE CDC, FOR THEIR DEDICATION AND COMMITMENT TO CURBING YOUTH
E-CIGARETTE USE AND FOR HELPING US GET THE SCIENCE RIGHT ON THIS
ADVISORY. THE TEAM FROM THE OFFICE OF
SMOKING AND HEALTH AT THE CDC HAVE BEEN ESPECIALLY HELPFUL.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *