(LOUISVILLE, Ky - October 15, 2018) Concerned that the escalation of Juul and other e-cigarette use will undermine progress in reducing tobacco-related disease in Kentucky, the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow will host a half-day conference in Louisville on Monday, December 10, to explore the latest evidence about the health impact of these devices.
In addition, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Kentucky Youth Advocates will release at the conference a focus group report regarding Kentucky youth attitudes and perceptions about e-cigarettes.
"E-cigarette use among youth is at now at epidemic levels, escalating dramatically since the introduction of flavored pod e-cigarettes such as Juul and copycat products," said Ben Chandler, chair of the Coalition. "Kentucky lawmakers and health advocates need to know what the research says about these products, and how they're impacting future tobacco use and health. We'll also examine the policies that should be enacted to turn back this alarming new trajectory."
Speakers at the "Next Generation Tobacco: The Impact of E-Cigarettes on Kentucky's Future Health" conference will discuss who is using e-cigarettes, vapes, and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) in Kentucky, and the potential policies for preventing disease and illness associated with them. In particular, speakers will focus on the role of flavors in encouraging underage vaping, the extent to which ENDS actually help people quit smoking, what's in ENDS and whether they are a safer alternative to combustible cigarettes, and the evidence that ENDS are a gateway to smoking for youth and young adults.
The conference is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 10, 2018, in the training room at the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, 1640 Lyndon Farm Court, in Louisville. The conference is free, but registration is required.
Brian King, PhD, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will open the conference with an overview of the federal position and actions regarding e-cigarettes and other ENDS products. The CDC has said that e-cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes, but still contain harmful substances. The Coalition noted that the Food and Drug Administration, which has not approved them as a quit-smoking aid, is exploring policies to govern nicotine levels and flavors in ENDS and other tobacco products. In addition, the FDA has launched enforcement actions against marketers selling ENDS to minors.
King's presentation will be followed by two panel discussions. The first, moderated by Sen. Julie Raque Adams, will include:
* Dr. Pat Purcell, President, Kentucky Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
* Dr. Scott Weaver, Assistant Professor, Georgia State University
* Dr. Audrey Darville, Associate Professor, University of Kentucky
* Dr. Melissa Abadi, Research Scientist, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation
A second panel will react to the youth focus group report and discuss the implications of ENDS on Kentucky's children and adolescents. Moderated by Kentucky Youth Advocates Executive Director Terry Brooks, panelists include:
* Allison Adams, President, Kentucky Health Departments Association
* Eric Kennedy, Government Relations Director, Kentucky School Boards Association
* Amy Barkley, Regional Advocacy Director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
A Kentucky youth also will participate in this panel.
A complete agenda for the conference is available here. The Coalition is working to make available for remote viewing three additional locations throughout the state. Those will be announced later in October.
About the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow
The Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow is committed to its mission of improving Kentucky's health by protecting Kentuckians from secondhand smoke and other tobacco emissions, and by reducing the high rate of smoking and tobacco use in the Commonwealth. For more information, please visit www.smokefreetomorrow.org.
The Coalition is led by representatives of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Baptist Health, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, Humana, Kentucky Cancer Foundation, Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Kentucky Council of Churches, Kentucky Equal Justice Center, Kentucky Health Collaborative, Kentucky Health Departments Association, Kentucky Hospital Association, Kentucky Medical Association, Kentucky Nurses Association, Kentucky School Boards Association, Kentucky Voices for Health, and Kentucky Youth Advocates. Other partners and members of the Coalition represent a broad array of more than 155 groups, including Kentucky business leaders, health advocates, health care providers and payers, educators, and faith community leaders.
Bonnie J. Hackbarth