ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) issued the following statement in response to the pulmonary illnesses associated with vaping.
"We are alarmed by the current outbreak of severe pulmonary illnesses and deaths associated with vaping. This is a public health emergency with serious consequences. Until we know precisely what substances are causing these illnesses, we strongly urge all Americans to stop vaping immediately," says Nathaniel Smith, MD, MPH, ASTHO president and secretary of health at the Arkansas Department of Health. "E-cigarettes are unsafe and unregulated. The FDA has never approved these devices for tobacco cessation. Given the highly addictive nature of these products, members of the public should discuss with their physicians the various FDA approved methods to assist with nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Some states have already acted by temporarily banning the sale of vaping products or banning the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.
"We're very concerned by the rapidly increasing rates of e-cigarette use by young people. This dramatic increase in youth vaping is being driven by fraudulent marketing practices that target young people with kid-friendly flavors. Federal, state, and local governments should take immediate action to address this epidemic by banning flavors, restricting marketing practices, raising taxes on tobacco products including e-cigarettes, supporting tobacco free air policies, expanding cessation programs, and raising the minimum age for tobacco purchases to 21."
ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely-associated states, and the District of Columbia, as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.
SOURCE Association of State and Territorial Health Officials