Dr. Joe Thompson Speaks at Youth Vaping Summit

October 10, 2019

Dr. Joe Thompson


John Lyon
Strategic Communications Manager

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ACHI participated in a youth vaping summit organized by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office in Bentonville on Wednesday, Oct. 9.

ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson gave a talk at Bentonville High School that touched on the history of tobacco policy efforts, the prevalence of electronic cigarette use among Arkansas public high school seniors, and the current outbreak of vaping-related illnesses and deaths. He also moderated a panel discussion with fellow doctors.

Dr. Thompson said existing tobacco restrictions imposed by the government and self-imposed by the tobacco industry came about over several decades, but momentum around restricting e-cigarettes has moved much faster, driven by rapidly rising rates of teen addiction to vaping and serious lung illnesses experienced by more than 1,000 users of e-cigarettes.

For a timeline of key events in the history of tobacco policy efforts nationwide and in Arkansas, see our infographic.

Dr. Thompson also noted that teen vaping is trending upward in Arkansas. In the 2018 Arkansas Prevention Needs Assessment survey, 44.3% of Arkansas public high school seniors said they have tried vaping at least once, up from 39.3% in 2017.

Dr. Thompson also discussed the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas health officials on vaping-related lung illnesses.

  • As of Oct. 1, 1,080 cases have been reported to the CDC from 48 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • There have been 18 deaths confirmed from 15 states, and additional deaths are under investigation.
  • Of the 578 patients for whom the CDC has information on substances used in e-cigarette products in the three months prior to symptom onset, 78% reported using products containing THC, the chemical compound in marijuana that produces a “high.” Thirty-seven percent reported using only THC-containing products. About 58% reported using nicotine-containing products, and 17% reported using only nicotine-containing products.
  • There does not currently appear to be one product or substance involved in all of the cases.
  • The CDC is recommended that people refrain from using any e-cigarette products, particularly those containing THC.
  • No deaths have been reported in Arkansas, but Arkansas health officials have said they are investigating a number of cases of serious illness.

Read more about the summit at:

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