The FDA is so concerned about teen vaping, they're considering drug therapy to help kids quit

After finding that one in five high school-aged kids have vaped tobacco in the past month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has become increasingly concerned about the health risks to youth. To address this increasing use, the FDA is considering drug therapy options to help addicted teens quit smoking, CNN reported.

“These products deliver very high levels of nicotine, meaning that even brief experimentation is likely to put adolescents at risk for long-term dependence,” Dr. Susanne Tanski, former chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Tobacco Consortium, told the FDA during a public hearing on Friday.

Current nicotine addiction treatments aren’t legal for kids to use

Nicotine patchMeryll/ShutterstockCommon treatments for nicotine addiction, like the patch and gum, aren’t legal for teenagers to use.

While the FDA’s public hearing did not point at any one drug therapy option for kids, the meeting did bring awareness to the fact that little research exists on the topic, CNN reported. Common treatments for nicotine addiction, like the patch and gum, for example, aren’t legal for teenagers to use, so a new method of drug therapy must be created to help this younger demographic deal with addiction.

Read more:
There’s even more evidence that e-cigarettes can expose you to dangerous toxins

Some say non-drug options, like targeted counseling, should be a key part of treatment for teenage nicotine addiction. In fact, Amanda Graham, Truth Initiative’s senior vice president of innovations, said that a texting-based initiative could help young people quit vaping and smoking tobacco products.

“E-cigarette users don’t identify as smokers,” Graham said in a statement. “They have different barriers to quitting, and, especially in the case of teens and young adults, many want an anonymous way to go about quitting without involving their parents or friends, which texting provides.”

The problem has gotten so bad, some teenagers are reaching out for help themselves

Regardless of the methods the FDA chooses to combat teen nicotine addiction, one thing is certain: they must act fast to curtail the detrimental effects vaping has caused.

During the FDA hearing, two teenagers spoke about their own negative experiences with vaping, underscoring the need for a solution. In fact, one of the boys, 15-year-old Phillip Fuhrman, said he first tried a Juul, a type of e-cigarette, in eighth grade and ended up excessively spending money on eBay to feed his addiction. “I see so many of my friends who had the same problem I did…and have no idea how to stop it,” Fuhrman said, according to CNN.

While the FDA has taken measures to prevent teen vaping, like banning flavored tobacco products, kids continue to use vapes and become addicted. Now, more in-depth research is the key to helping teenagers overcome their addictions, since currently “there is unfortunately virtually no data on how to treat an adolescent with e-cigarette dependence,” Tanski told the FDA during the public hearing.


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