First Lady Melania Trump on Monday, Oct. 7, urged for the end of marketing e-cigarettes to children at the Red Ribbon Rally at the Drug Enforcement Agency in Arlington, Virginia.
She pointed out the addictiveness and peril of e-cigarettes to youth’s health.
Vaping has become increasingly popular in the US’s teenagers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.9 million middle and high school students in 2018 were using tobacco products, growing from 3.6 million in 2017.
In the meantime, health officials across the nation are tackling a strange illness linked to e-cigarette smoking that has caused hundreds of illness, and killed at least 14 as of Sept. 30, according to CNN.
The first lady shared her visits to hospitals and rehabilitation centers have allowed her to see “the horrible results of drug abuse” and stated her commitment “continue to address addiction as long as it affects our children, our youth and our schools.”
Her effort in educating children and families about the dangers associated with vaping is part of her Be Best youth initiative launched in May 2018.
She raised her concern in her earlier tweet,
I am deeply concerned about the growing epidemic of e-cigarette use in our children. We need to do all we can to protect the public from tobacco-related disease and death, and prevent e-cigarettes from becoming an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for a generation of youth. @HHSGov
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) September 9, 2019
In September Juul Labs Inc., the nation’s largest maker of electronic cigarettes faced the lawsuit by attorneys in Lake County Circuit Court on behalf of 18-year-old Adam Hergenreder.
Antonio Romanucci, the attorney representing the teenager suing Juul Labs, said: “Adam is one of the millions of teens who unknowingly took up vaping, completely unaware of the adverse health effects until it was almost too late. And now he is one of nearly 450 cases of reported lung-related disease illnesses related to e-cigarette use according to the Center for Disease Control. As our lawsuit alleges today, Juul has turned a generation of our young youth, our adolescents, into addicts and they’ve recklessly put their health and safety into jeopardy.”
The Trump administration is planning to remove some flavors from vaping e-cigarettes to make them less appealing to children. “It’s, again, very new and potentially very bad,” The president said. “People think it’s an easy solution to cigarettes, but it’s turned out that it has its own difficulties.”
Amid US Food and Drug Association (FDA) efforts to ban flavored vaping products loved by young people, aggressive lobbying from vaping businesses and those in the industry triggered top officials in the Obama White House to veto the ban, According to a Los Angeles Times report on Tuesday, Oct. 1.
Red Ribbon Week came into being after the 1985 torture and slaying of DEA Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in Mexico.
Americans began wearing red ribbons to honor Camarena’s sacrifice, and schools in the region of California where he lived formed clubs in his name and pledged to live drug-free lives.
The week was formalized in 1988.
Camarena’s widow, Mika, attended the rally. Students seated in the auditorium rose and took a pledge to stay away from drugs.
Includes reporting from The Associated Press