Attorney General Dewine, OSUCCC - James' Dr. Peter Shields Warn of E-Cigarette Use Among Youth
August 21, 2015 - 10:21 AM
COLUMBUS—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Peter Shields,
MD, Deputy Director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer
Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC –
James) yesterday warned parents about the risks of e-cigarette use among
children and young adults.
“The beginning of a new school year is a perfect time to ask parents
this question: ‘Do you know what’s in your child’s backpack?’” Attorney
General DeWine said. “E-cigarettes are now likely to be found among the
school supplies of an increasing number of kids. Many e-cigarette
products could be easily mistaken for pens, highlighters, or other
common school supplies. We want to alert parents and protect young
“We know that tobacco addiction often begins in youth – nine out of 10
adult smokers in Ohio began smoking before age 18,” said Dr. Shields,
of the OSUCCC – James. “Smokeless tobacco products are especially
concerning because they are very attractive to youth and tobacco
companies actively deploy marketing tactics aimed at encouraging dual
use of smokeless tobacco with cigarettes to this audience. In addition,
e-cigarettes have gained such rapid popularity that the medical
community hasn’t had time to assess their health risks.”
E-cigarettes, or electronic cigarettes, are battery-operated products
that heat liquid nicotine and other chemicals into a vapor that is
inhaled by the user (sometimes called “vaping”).
In the last few years, e-cigarette use by young people has skyrocketed.
According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, e-cigarette use among
high school students increased nearly 800 percent from 2011 to 2014.
Similar increases were observed among middle school students.
At the same time, calls to poison control centers about e-cigarette and
liquid nicotine exposure increased more than 1,200 percent, from 271
calls in 2011 to 3,738 calls in 2014, according to the American
Association of Poison Control Centers. More than half of reported
exposures involved children under the age of six.
(Graphic Provided by Ohio Attorney General's Office)
Children who drink or are exposed to liquid nicotine can experience
nausea, vomiting, or other serious illness. One teaspoon of concentrated
liquid nicotine could kill a 1-year-old child. Last December, a
1-year-old in New York died after swallowing liquid nicotine.
Additionally, studies suggest that teenage brains are permanently
affected by nicotine exposure, with possible long-term cognitive and
In recent years, e-cigarette marketing expenditures have increased from
an estimated $6.4 million in 2011 to more than $59.3 million in 2013,
and e-cigarette marketers employ many of the same techniques that big
tobacco companies used to sell cigarettes to young people, including:
Appealing flavors, including candy and fruit flavors
Placement in social media, movies, and TV
Event sponsorships, including music festivals, NASCAR, and the World Series of Poker
Attorney General DeWine has led a bipartisan coalition of attorneys
general in urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to
regulate e-cigarettes and related products in the same way cigarette and
other tobacco-product advertising is regulated. He also has urged
companies selling e-cigarettes to act in a responsible manner, including
limiting youth exposure to e-cigarette marketing.
DeWine has a long record of protecting Ohio kids from underage tobacco
use. As a U.S. Senator, he sponsored legislation granting the FDA
authority over the marketing of tobacco products to kids. As Ohio
Attorney General, he supported legislation in the Ohio General Assembly
to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to those under age 18, a measure Gov.
John Kasich signed into law in 2014.
Ohio State University Center of Excellence in Regulatory Tobacco Science (CERTS)
is one of 14 centers nationwide dually funded by the National
Institutes of Health and FDA through a new federal initiative aimed at
putting science behind the FDA’s role in regulating tobacco.
The university-wide research program takes into account the biological,
psychological, economic, and public health implications associated with
tobacco use and the industry's marketing of products to consumers.
CERTS includes a total of 18 scientists from six colleges and The
Through CERTS, Ohio State aims to reduce tobacco addiction and shed
light on health problems arising from tobacco use among youths and
adults in rural and urban settings, and to decrease tobacco-related harm
by studying individual disease risk and the prevalence of product use –
with a focus on dual use (smokeless tobacco and cigarettes) and new and
emerging tobacco products like e-cigarettes.
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