Youth Tobacco Use on the Rise; Access to Cessation Resources Critical

Updated CDC data, reported Monday, shows that youth tobacco use has dramatically increased in the last year by over 36%. The increase, primarily due to e-cigarettes, demonstrates that the need for cessation resources will not be going away anytime soon. While many perceive e-cigarettes to be “safer” than traditional cigarettes, nicotine exposure on young minds presents serious medical concerns.

According to the CDC, nicotine exposure in those under 25 “impacts learning, memory, and attention and primes the brain for addiction.” And young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.

With no sign of tobacco use or nicotine addiction going away, it’s more important than ever that Americans have access to tobacco cessation resources. Already, eight states authorize pharmacists to prescribe tobacco cessation medications. Pharmacists in New Mexico have been prescribing all FDA-approved tobacco cessation medications since 2004.

In 2019, already 15 states are considering following this lead and ensuring their residents can access important cessation medications directly from their pharmacist. Legislation has already been introduced in Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, and West Virginia. For more information on pharmacist prescribing of tobacco cessation medications, visit www.naspa.us/tobacco.

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