The Office of the Attorney General applauds the announcement from The Truth Initiative® that it has expanded its truth® campaign to tackle the growing youth e-cigarette epidemic to include Guam.
According to the announcement, over 65% of 12- to 24-year-olds in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands have seen the latest truth® digital campaign –“Tested on Humans”– on platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and Instagram.
This campaign exposes just how little is known about the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use.
Guam has been hit particularly hard by the youth e-cigarette epidemic. In 2017, 34.6% of Guam youth surveyed said they have used e-cigarettes, which is three times higher than the national average.
Additionally, 1 out of 4 middle school students reported being current users of e-cigarettes. There have been reports of children as young as fourth graders vaping at school.
“One of our concerns is that children, young adults, and parents don’t understand the long-term effects of vaping and that most vape juices contain nicotine, even though their labels don’t say so,” said Attorney General Leevin Taitano Camacho. “When companies sell products that come in flavors like chocolate cake and ube, it adds to the misconception that these ‘juices’ do not contain nicotine. The reality is that most of these ‘pods’ contain as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.”
Guam has seen a staggering rate of youth vaping despite it being illegal to purchase or sell vaping products to anyone under the age of 21 years old.
Parents, merchants, and distributors should be aware that it is illegal to purchase, sell, or distribute tobacco products, including vapes, to anyone under 21. Fines, penalties, and license revocations are potential consequences if an individual or a business is found violating the law.
“Our Office will continue to support the great work being done by Guam’s Tobacco Control Action Team,” said AG Camacho. “Our local and national partners seem to agree that the best tool that we have to take on this problem is to tell our youth the truth about what they are putting into their