Evidence suggests that, despite increased public health efforts to discourage teens from using hazardous tobacco products, use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) remains high, due in part to direct youth targeting by tobacco and vaping companies, with many ENDS containing fruit and candy flavors that are particularly attractive to youth in products with high nicotine levels. For a study, researchers analyzed national/local nicotine product use in youth by gender, age, and racial/ethnic group; explored the socio-ecological context of tobacco/vape shops via geospatial mapping; and conducted an environmental scan of social media platforms combined with Google and Yellow Pages searches. Ever use of e-cigarettes was reported by 13.5% of middle schoolers and 37.7% of high schoolers. The location of tobacco and vape shops appeared to correspond with areas with higher percentages of ethnic minorities, regardless of average income. However, lower-income cities tended to have more of these shops when compared with very high-income cities. Even after adjusting for store type, tobacco products cost less in neighborhoods with lower median household incomes and in those with a higher proportion of Hispanic residents. The study authors suggest that population-based tobacco (including vaping) prevention and control strategies in coordination with the FDA are critical to reducing use and initiation of these products among all Americans, particularly ethnic minorities and youth.
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