WARWICK, RI —Pilgrim High students unitedagainst tobacco use March 20 along with young people nationwide to mark Kick Butts
More than 1,000 events were planned across theUnited States. At Pilgrim High School, students made posters about deceptivemarketing practices used by tobacco companies and made anti-smoking pledges.
This year, kids are focused on kickingJuul, the e-cigarette that has become enormously popular among youth across thecountry.
While cigarette smoking among highschool students nationwide has fallen to 8.1 percent, e-cigarette use amonghigh-school students rose by an alarming 78 percent in 2018 alone – to 20.8percent of the student population. In 2018, more than 3.6 million middle andhigh school students used e-cigarettes. U.S. public health leaders have calledyouth e-cigarette use an “epidemic” that is addicting a new generation of kids.
In Rhode Island, 20.1 percent of highschool students use e-cigarettes, while 6.1 percent smoke cigarettes. Tobaccouse claims 1,800 lives in Rhode Island and costs the state $640 million inhealth care bills each year.
“This year on Kick Butts Day, we’rechallenging policy makers at every level to do their part to reverse the youthe-cigarette epidemic and continue driving down youth tobacco use,” said MatthewL. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “We cannot allowe-cigarettes, especially Juul, to addict another generation and reverse theenormous progress we’ve made in reducing youth tobacco use.”
Key facts about e-cigarettes include:
- Themain cause of the youth e-cigarette trend is Juul, which looks like a computerflash drive, is small and easy to hide, delivers a powerful dose of nicotine,and comes in kid-friendly flavors like mango, fruit and mint. According to themanufacturer, each Juul “pod” (cartridge) delivers as much nicotine as a packof 20 cigarettes.
- E-cigarettespose serious health risks for kids.The U.S. Surgeon Generalhas found thatyouth use of nicotine in any form – including e-cigarettes – is unsafe, causesaddiction and can harm the developing adolescent brain, affecting learning,memory and attention. Studies also show that young people who use e-cigarettesare more likely to become cigarette smokers.