While many states and cities have ordinances that forbid people from lighting up a cigarette in public, they’re okay with vaping. The Surgeon General is urging them to rethink their policies.
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams on Tuesday issued a rare advisory, calling on states, communities, tribes and territories to include e-cigarettes in their smoke-free indoor air policies and take steps to restrict the access of young people to vaping products.
“You have an important role to play in addressing this public health epidemic,” the advisory said.
The advisory, just the second Adams has issued since taking the job 16 months ago, comes the day after a report concluded 21% of high school seniors vaped nicotine this year, versus just 11% last year. Health officials have repeatedly said this could prime children for nicotine addiction later in life.
Adams also called on states to implement strategies to address e-cigarette marketing, which federal officials have accused of targeting young people. He urged parents, teachers and health officials to make teens aware of the health risks.
“The recent surge in e-cigarette use among youth, which has been fueled by new types of e-cigarettes that have recently entered the market, is a cause for great concern,” he said. “We must take action now to protect the health of our nation’s young people.”
More than half the nation—26 states—have enacted bans on smoking in enclosed workspaces, bars and restaurants. Others have similar rules with exemptions. Only 12 states do not have some statewide ban on smoking in public places, although some cities in those states do.