US surgeon general warns of teen risks from e-cigarettes

The government's top doctor is taking aim at the best-selling electronic cigarette brand in the U.S., urging swift action to prevent Juul and similar vaping brands from addicting millions of teenagers.

In an advisory, Surgeon General Jerome Adams said parents, teachers, health professionals and government officials must take "aggressive steps" to keep children from using e-cigarettes. Federal law bars the sale of e-cigarettes to those under 18.

Adams said in an interview “for young people nicotine is dangerous and it can have negative health effects. It can impact learning, attention and memory, and it can prime the youth brain for addiction."

Federal officials are scrambling to reverse a recent explosion in teen vaping that public health officials’ fear could undermine decades of declines in tobacco use. According to the latest federal figures an estimated 3.6 million U.S. teens are now using e-cigarettes, representing 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle schoolers. Separate survey results released yesterday showed twice as many high school students used e-cigarettes this year compared to last year.

Dawn Kamber