Erika Sward, spokeswoman for the American Lung Association, says more Iowa adults are using e-cigarettes, but they’re especially alluring to teenagers. “Among adults in Iowa, just over 16% use and smoke cigarettes, and 5.3% use e-cigarettes,” Sward says. “The most recent high school data we have for cigarette smoking in Iowa is about 4.4%.”
The latest study from the Iowa Department of Public Health finds e-cigarette use among Iowa 11th graders has rocketed in recent years to more than 22-percent, that’s almost one in every four. Sward says e-cigarettes were initially billed as being a safe alternative to help smokers transition away from traditional cigarettes to eventually quit.
“The Food and Drug Administration has not found any e-cigarette to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit,” Sward says, “but we have certainly seen these false and unproven claims from e-cigarette manufacturers and retailers.” The American Lung Association is continuing to press the FDA for more significant action on e-cigarettes, but she says the agency is moving very slowly.
“We’ve seen one warning letter go out to one manufacturer, Juul, but unfortunately in the ten-year history of these products in the U.S., that’s really been the major action,” Sward says. “We know that smokers are confused.”
The state of Iowa is offering a program called, “My Life, My Quit,” which focuses on teens. Through the program, teens work with a coach who listens and understands their unique needs, provides personalized support, and helps them build a quit plan to become free from nicotine. For details, text or call 855-891-9989 or visit mylifemyquit.com.