The Calgary group, called Stop Addicting Adolescents to Vaping and E-cigarettes, or SAAVE, includes university students, high school students and doctors. For the past three years, it has flattened, according to new numbers released Monday.
"We were making progress, and now you have the introduction of a product that is heavily popular among youth that has completely erased that progress", King said.
The group gathered on Tuesday and some of the students say recently proposed vaping restrictions don't go far enough. What came out clearly was that the newer products were in no way less toxic to cells than conventional cigarettes or e-cigarette vaping.
Among high school students, 32.4% of non-Hispanic whites reported current use of any tobacco product in 2018, compared to 21.7% of Hispanics, 18.4% of non-Hispanics of other races, and 17.4% of black students. Across middle school students previous year, any tobacco product use was reported among 9.5% of Hispanics and 6.8% of non-Hispanic blacks, and it dropped to 6.6% of non-Hispanic whites and dropped again to 3.8% of non-Hispanic students of other races. Those findings were about the same seen in similar surveys in 2016 and 2017.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Vital Signs report examined tobacco product use changes among US middle and high school students from the 2011-2018 National Youth Tobacco Surveys and found that about 4.9 million youth were current tobacco users in 2018, with 1.5 million more e-cigarette users in 2018 than the year before.
Smoking, the nation's leading cause of preventable illness, is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths each year.
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"We'll continue to take steps to try to investigate the root causes of this spike in youth e-cigarette use and arrest the momentum of these trends, in particular, by ensuring these products are sold in ways that make them less accessible and appealing to youth", he stated.
"Unlike tobacco, electronic cigarettes are not regulated, and from what we know nicotine is already addicting and these electronic cigarettes contain more nicotine than cigarettes", said Robinson.
The proposals were welcomed by New Brunswick's Lung Association whose director of health promotion claimed vaping has "set the anti-smoking campaign back 30 years".
There is, however, some split of opinion among health researchers. "We know JUUL devices are being used among kids in school, including inside bathrooms and classrooms", said Brian King, deputy director at the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health.
An illustration shows a man exhaling smoke from an electronic cigarette in Washington, D.C., on October 2, 2018. Almost all tobacco product use begins during youth and young adulthood, according to the report, and the new numbers signify a reversal in recent progress to reduce overall tobacco product use among adolescents.