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Dec 18 2018

THE HILL - U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams in a rare public health advisory on Tuesday called for more restrictions to battle youth vaping.

Adams called for local initiatives, including increased taxes and indoor e-cigarette bans, in order to tackle the surge in vaping among minors.

The advisory comes the day after a study found high schoolers' use of e-cigarettes roughly doubled over the past year in what researchers called an unprecedented increase.

"We need to protect our kids from all tobacco products, including all shapes and sizes of e-cigarettes,” Adams said in the advisory. “Everyone can play an important role in protecting our nation’s young people from the risks of e-cigarettes.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse on Monday released data showing that the number of high school seniors who say they used an e-cigarette within the last 30 days spiked by 75 percent since last year, according to the advisory. 

An estimated 3.6 million U.S. teens are now using e-cigarettes, the equivalent of 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle-schoolers, the Associated Press noted.

The surgeon general's advisory calls out e-cigarette manufacturer Juul in particular.

The brand has surged in popularity. Juul has "more than a 70 percent share of the cartridge-based e-cigarette market in the United States," according to the advisory. 

"A typical JUUL cartridge, or 'pod,' contains about as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes," according to the statement.

“In the data sets we use, we have never seen use of any substance by America’s young people rise as rapidly as e-cigarette use is rising,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement. “We cannot allow e-cigarettes to become an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for younger Americans.”

In a statement to The Hill, Juul said that it “shares a common goal with the Surgeon General and other federal health regulators — preventing youth from initiating on nicotine. We are committed to preventing youth access of JUUL products.”

The Food and Drug Administration earlier this year launched a major push to stop e-cigarette sales to minors, accusing manufacturers and retailers of contributing to an “epidemic” of use among kids and teenagers.