Area youth use of e-cigarettes higher than state average – Leader-Telegram

In 2017, Eau Claire County’s high school-age youth used e-cigarette products at nearly double the rate of the state of Wisconsin, according to the Eau Claire City-County Health Department.

Lil Piñero, the department’s community health educator and facilitator for Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention, said the county sent a Youth Risk Behavior Survey to students in November 2017. In a question about using e-cigarettes, 23.4 percent of high school students said they had used the product in the last 30 days. The state’s result of the same population was 11.6 percent.

What’s more alarming, Piñero said those numbers also increased from a similar 2015 PRIDE survey that was sent out to high school students. That number was 12.7 percent. 

“We have a serious issue in Eau Claire County in particular in terms of e-cigarette use and its appeal and attractiveness to our youth,” Piñero said. “For me, what that says in my field is we have some work to do here in prevention.” 

But the county isn’t alone. On Wednesday U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced new steps to address what he calls an “epidemic of youth e-cigarette use,” according to the statement. 

Gottlieb acknowledged there is not as much information available on the effects of e-cigarettes but said such products “may still pose health risks, including possibly releasing some chemicals at higher levels than conventional cigarettes.” 

The FDA will tighten regulations on selling and marketing these products, especially toward kids, as well as revisit manufacturing compliance policies. It also will continue to crack down on the illegal sales of the products toward minors and send warning letters to manufacturers and retailers of the products. 

Part of what attracts youth to the products is the marketing, especially of the popular e-cigarette brand JUUL, Piñero thinks. They are sleek, attractive

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