Out of the frying pan and into the pot

Seeming victory over Guam youth smoking turns to e-cig ashes

Sometimes it takes a law or an education campaign to help people kick a bad habit. Other times a more convenient or attractive vice comes along and undoes those earnest efforts.

Since 2014, youth smoking rates on Guam have dropped 5 percent — a feat that would be worth celebrating if it didn’t coincide with the finding that 35 percent of youth have picked up e-cigarettes.

It’s exactly what local public health advocates feared from the debut of e-cigs. “We knew that e-cigarette use was very alarming,” said Elizabeth Guerrero, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Health and Social Services.

Lindsay Fox @ EcigaretteReviewed.com

The 2017 Guam Global Youth Tobacco Survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be used as a baseline to measure the effectiveness of the island’s tightened smoking regulations.

Over many decades tobacco companies figured out the tricks to peddling smokes to customers — young and old, legal and illegal. Now it’s the same game in a different guise.

Guerrero said DPHSS now has to fight against the “coolness” of vaping. An electronic cigarette vaporizes a nicotine-based liquid that is often scented and flavored. Though vaping products have been marketed as healthier alternatives to tobacco, medical professionals still question the longer term impacts of e-cigarette use.