WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration was given an "F" in a new American Lung Association report card evaluating tobacco prevention programs.
The FDA is failing to protect youth from electronic cigarettes, which can lead to potential nicotine addiction, the group said in its 17th annual State of Tobacco Control report, according to CNN.
The FDA's inaction on e-cigarettes is "putting the lives and health of Americans at risk," said report author Thomas Carr, national director of policy at the American Lung Association, who said there was a "staggering 78 percent increase among high school students and e-cigarette use in 2017-18." Carr added that nearly 21 percent of U.S. high school students use e-cigarettes, CNN reported. The sharp rise in e-cigarette use has "led both the U.S. surgeon general and FDA commissioner to call teen e-cigarette use an 'epidemic,'" he said. "That is a direct result of lack of regulation of the products."
Despite pledging to regulate e-cigarettes in 2011, the FDA began regulating them in 2016, when it set 18 years as the minimum age for buyers and introduced additional requirements for retailers and standards for makers. "Back then, e-cigarette use was at 1.5 percent among high school students, so that really was the time for action," Carr said, CNN reported. More recently, the FDA said it has taken an "escalating series of unprecedented actions" to prevent youth use of tobacco products, especially e-cigarettes.