U.S. Reps. David Trone (D-MD) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) announced Tuesday they had introduced legislation aimed at gathering more accurate data about youth e-cigarette usage.
The Accurate Reporting of Smoking Variants Act would include e-cigarette usage as part of the electronic health records (EHRs) that doctors compile about patients. Currently, doctors can record whether or not a patient uses cigarettes or cigars, but not e-cigarettes.
The act would require the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to ensure that EHRs let doctors record a patient’s vaping and e-cigarette use. The change would give health care providers and researchers a better understanding of how many young people vape or use e-cigarettes, of the long-term health impacts of these products are and of ways to curb vaping in young people.
“I’ve heard from parents across Maryland about the alarming increase in youth vaping. We can’t ignore this public health crisis,” Trone said. “In order to reduce youth vaping, we need to collect and understand the data behind the youth vaping epidemic. The Accurate Reporting of Smoking Variants Act will do just that. Congressman Krishnamoorthi is a champion for youth vaping prevention, and I am honored to work with him on this important issue.”
Studies from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention show that more than 10 percent of middle school students and more than 27 percent of high school students, or roughly 5.4 million young people, report having used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. That number is up from the 3.6 million students who reported using e-cigarettes in 2018.
The CDC also reported that in the fall of 2019, more than 2,800 individuals were hospitalized or died from “e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injuries” (EVALI) from vaping marijuana products. Sixty-eight people from 29 states and the District of Columbia have died from EVALI.
“We know an alarming number of middle and high school kids are addicted to e-cigarettes, but there remains much to be learned about the scope of this epidemic,” Krishnamoorthi, Co-Founder of the Congressional Caucus to End the Youth Vaping Epidemic, said. “Recording data about the use of e-cigarettes in electronic health records is an important step towards understanding the prevalence of youth vaping and bringing it to an end.”