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Oldham reappointed as county health officer

Focus on decreasing youths using e-cigarettes
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Placer County Health Officer Dr. Robert Oldham has been reappointed to California’s Tobacco Education and Research Oversight Committee, where he has served since 2015.

The legislatively-mandated advisory committee is charged with overseeing the use of Proposition 99 and Proposition 56 tobacco tax revenues for tobacco research, control and prevention education. Oldham and other members provide advice to the Department of Public Health, the University of California and the state Department of Education. The committee also publishes and periodically updates a state master plan for tobacco control and research.

“I am privileged to continue to serve in this role, and there is important work ahead,” Oldham said. “Use of e-cigarettes is on the rise nationally and locally among youth, and we need to be vigilant to protect our young people.”

The Food and Drug Administration recently announced that use of e-cigarettes among high school students nationwide skyrocketed in just the last year, spurring an advisory from the U.S. Surgeon General this week. The percentage of high-school-aged children who reported using e-cigarettes within the past 30 days rose by more than 75 percent between 2017 and 2018, and use among middle-school-aged children increased nearly 50 percent.

In Placer County, nearly a quarter of 11th graders reported having used an e-cigarette in 2018 — significantly higher than the number smoking whole cigarettes, a report from the county said. But teens who smoke e-cigarettes are statistically much more likely to start smoking cigarettes, also.

“There is a misperception out there that e-cigs are harmless water vapor, and this is absolutely untrue,” Oldham said.

E-cigarettes heat a liquid into an aerosol that the user inhales, or “vapes.” They contain nicotine, which is addictive and can harm adolescent brain development, the report said.

Parents and community members can find more information and tools to use with children and teens online at e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov.