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Usage of E-Cigarettes In American Teens Have Reached ‘Epidemic Proportions’: FDA

Gottlieb slammed the e-cigarette makers for approaching the problem of underage use as "a public relations challenge.''

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Do you believe e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to smoking? Think again. Pixabay
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American teens’ use of e-cigarettes has hit “epidemic proportions,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a statement released Wednesday.

In what it called the “largest coordinated enforcement effort in FDA history,” the agency issued written warnings and fines to 1,300 retailers for their role in selling the devices to children.

According to the data cited by the FDA, last year more than 2 million middle school and high school students used the devices, which deliver nicotine in an inhalable form.

In a speech at FDA headquarters, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said, “The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth and the resulting path to addiction must end.”

 

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In this April 11, 2018, photo, an unidentified 15-year-old high school student uses a vaping device near the school’s campus in Cambridge, Mass. Health and education officials across the country are raising alarms over wide underage use of e-cigarettes and other vaping products. The devices heat liquid into an inhalable vapor that’s sold in sugary flavors like mango and mint — and often with the addictive drug nicotine. VOA

 

Until now, the FDA had eyed e-cigarettes as a powerful tool to help adults break their habit of using conventional tobacco products. But research has found little evidence of such products’ effectiveness.

Gottlieb admitted that the agency had neglected to take into account how attractive the flavored products would be to youths.

The commissioner said the FDA would continue to study e-cigarettes as a less harmful alternative for adult smokers, but “that work can’t come at the expense of kids.”

The FDA said it was giving the makers of Juul, Vuse, MarkTen XL, Blu and Logic, the five top-selling brands, 60 days to present the agency with a viable plan to prevent vaping among children. If they fail, it could order the products off the market.

The five brands account for more than 97 percent of U.S. sales, according to the FDA.

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Packages of flavored liquids for e-cigarettes are seen displayed at a smoke shop in New York City. VOA

Critics have long argued that the manufacturers of e-cigarettes are deliberately targeting children by offering their products in sugary flavors.

Also Read: Daily Cigarette Smokers Develop Greater Risk of Heart Attack, Says Study

Gottlieb slammed the e-cigarette makers for approaching the problem of underage use as “a public relations challenge.”

“I’m here to tell them today that this prior approach is over,” he said. (VOA)

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Lack of Proper Sanitation Affects 620 Million Children Around The World: Report

Despite the improvements, more than a third of the girls in South Asia miss school for one to three days a month during their period.

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A new toilet recently installed in a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. VOA

A lack of proper school toilets threatens the health, education and safety of at least 620 million children around the world, the charity WaterAid said in a new study published Friday.

Children at 1 in 3 schools lack access to proper toilets, putting them at risk of diarrhea and other infections and forcing some to miss lessons altogether, according to the study, based on data from 101 countries.

Guinea-Bissau in West Africa has the worst school toilets while Ethiopian children fare worst at home, with 93 percent of homes lacking a decent toilet according to the report, released ahead of World Toilet Day on Monday.

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Students arrive for class at the Every Nation Academy private school in the city of Makeni in Sierra Leone, April 20, 2012. VOA

“The message here is that water and sanitation affect everything,” WaterAid spokeswoman Anna France-Williams told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “If there’s no toilet in schools, children will miss lessons and it will have an impact on their growing up.”

Diarrhea, infection risk

A lack of proper sanitation puts millions of children around the world in danger of diarrhea, which kills 289,000 children younger than 5 a year, WaterAid said.

But some regions have started to clean up their act, notably South Asia, where access to toilets in schools has improved.

More than half the schools in Bangladesh now have access to decent toilets, while students in 73 percent of schools in India and 76 percent of those in Bhutan can access basic sanitation.

Akramul Islam, director of water, sanitation and hygiene at the Bangladeshi charity BRAC, said the country’s once-high levels of open defecation — using open ground rather than toilets — were now less than 1 percent.

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India’s plight in sanitation has not improved much since ages.
Pixabay

“Today, schools have separate toilets for girls and boys and the issue of menstrual hygiene is also being addressed,” he said. “This has happened because of initiatives taken by both the government, the NGOs and other stakeholders.”

Also Read: 3 HIV+ Students Banned From School in Indonesia

Improvement needed

Despite the improvements, more than a third of the girls in South Asia miss school for one to three days a month during their period, WaterAid said, urging greater investment in basic sanitation.

“If we are serious about all children and young people, wherever they are, whatever their gender, physical ability or community background, having their right to clean water and sanitation, we must take decisive and inclusive action now,” said Chief Executive Tim Wainwright. (VOA)