Experts on the world’s highest rate of teen vape use call for stronger tobacco control laws

As Guampdn reports in the United States, Dr. Annette David has been studying tobacco control for 30 years. (Dr.Annette Tedavid) It was pointed out that the electronic cigarette utilization rate of young people in Guam ranked first in the world.

At a public hearing on Tuesday, Dr. David shared this startling statistic with senators. The hearing focused on several bills introduced by Sen. Sabina Perez to curb tobacco use among the island’s youth.

Senator Perez noted that Bills numbered 186, 187, 194, and 185 aim to strengthen tobacco control laws, eliminate loopholes, reduce exposure to tobacco and nicotine products, especially among youth, and devote more resources to education, prevention, smoking cessation, and enforcement of laws and regulations.

Dr. David clarified that the figure of one-quarter of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes mentioned in the bill comes from a 2017 statistic. However, two years later, data collected in 2019 showed that the percentage had increased to one-third, or 35 percent, of high school and middle school students using vapes.

She said: “This is the highest rate of youth use in the world. It’s not only the tallest in the United States, it’s the tallest in the world.”

Doctors stress that we must prevent the generational transmission of nicotine addiction and possible future health hazards. Tobacco prevention requires five key points that can help reduce this staggering number.

One is availability, that is, reducing the availability of tobacco; The second is the access to tobacco, that is, the ability to restrict access to tobacco; The third is the price, which can be raised by increasing the tobacco tax so that young people cannot afford it; Acceptability, which means eliminating the routine use of smoking, chewing and other forms of tobacco; The fifth is attractiveness, that is, the use of advertising or other ways to glorify smoking or other forms of tobacco is prohibited.

In addition, she suggested that senators rework the definition of e-cigarettes in the bill and further expand the definition to include existing and future devices and that the definition should not be limited to products that contain nicotine.

She pointed out that some products that claim to be nicotine-free have been tested in the laboratory and have indeed found nicotine levels.

At the same time, Dr. David recommended that e-cigarettes be included in existing laws and regulations, requiring advertising or warning labels on the products, and incorporating them into smoke-free and tax regulations.