The tobacco industry is using e-cigarettes to draw new customers . . . and youth tobacco use in Minnesota has increased for the first time in 17 years. A dramatic increase in e-cigarette use, now called an epidemic by the U.S. Surgeon General, has disrupted a downward trend in youth tobacco use overall.
Nicotine harms the adolescent brain and may prime young brains for addiction. Youth who use e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future. And today’s e-cigarettes can deliver very high levels of nicotine . . . but youth often don’t know they contain nicotine at all.
E-cigarette aerosol is not safe and threatens Minnesota’s clean indoor air. An overwhelming majority of Minnesotans (81 percent) support expanding protected to prohibit e-cigarette use in indoor public places. But currently only 50 percent of Minnesotans are protected from e-cigarettes where smoking is already prohibited.
E-cigarettes are not proven to be better for quitting than existing programs. We need to better understand how e-cigarettes influence starting and quitting smoking. Research on e-cigarettes’ potential as quitting aids should continue, but until more is known, smokers should use FDA-approved cessation tools.