On October 15, 2019, the Tri-County Health Department Board of Health passed a resolution declaring youth vaping a public health crisis, and encouraging action by a variety of stakeholders. These include policy actions by state and local jurisdictions, and working collaboratively with schools, parents and community partners.
“Tri-County Health Department works to reduce the impact of tobacco by partnering with communities to provide tobacco prevention and cessation resources, and we are expanding those evidence-based successes to fight our epidemic of youth vaping, including the recently recognized vaping associated acute lung disease,” said John M. Douglas, Jr., MD, Executive Director of Tri-County Health Department. “Electronic cigarettes are considered a tobacco product by the FDA because most of them contain nicotine, which comes from tobacco. E-cigarette use by our youth is increasing at an alarming rate, with an estimated 27% of Colorado high school students vaping.”
In an effort to reduce the youth entry point to using e-cigarettes and tobacco, the health department recently sent a communication to city managers regarding local policy options following the successful passage of Denver’s minimum legal sales increase from age 18 to age 21. Retail licensing and sales restrictions are an effective way to help reduce the initiation of tobacco products by teens.
According to the CDC, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. Smoking and tobacco use can cause many kinds of cancer, heart diseases, stroke, and chronic lung disease. Over 480,000 Americans die every year from tobacco-related diseases, including 5,100 in Colorado.
Tobacco use killed one hundred million people globally in the 20th century, and, if current trends continue, it will kill one billion people in the 21st century. For every American who dies because of smoking, at least 30 are living with a serious smoking-related illness.
Through partnerships, the Tobacco Prevention Team at Tri-County Health Department empowers community members and leaders to engage in evidenced-based tobacco prevention strategies. For more information visit www.tchd.org/706/Substance-Use.
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