A new epidemic hits our country

Generally, we like to keep editorials rather lighthearted during the holiday season.

But, a development this week that is very troubling is not getting very much attention. And, no, it’s not about any of the various Trump investigations.

It’s about a report and a legal investment in a company that, once again, proves that the United States is not really serious about fighting addiction.

The first part of the story deals with an advisory issued Tuesday by the U.S. surgeon general. The country’s doctor-in-chief, Jerome Adams, declared that “e-cigarette use among youth (is) an epidemic in the United States.”

According to NPR’s story on Tuesday’s news conference, Adams was joined in the warning by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

“We have never seen use of any substance by America’s young people rise this rapidly,” Azar said at the briefing. “This is an unprecedented challenge.”

Again, according to NPR, Juul electronic cigarettes were singled out by the feds for making the most popular electronic cigarettes among youth.

Juul defended itself saying that it has pulled some of the flavorings that were among the most popular among juvenile tastes. The question remains, though, why those sweet flavorings were out there in the first place.

And, don’t forget, “vaping” is the new hot delivery system for nicotine. New generations are going to be lured into a nicotine addiction. The NPR story said one Juul cartridge contains as much nicotine as 20 cigarettes made of tobacco.

If any further proof was needed that our country is not serious about combating addictions, it was also revealed that Altria, parent company of Marlboro, has purchased a 35 percent interest in Juul.

Marlboro, of course, was widely know for promoting cigarette use through its advertising featuring “The Marlboro Man.” According to People, at least three of the actors who portrayed “The Marlboro Man” died of lung cancer. Another died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Now, the company has found a new way to addict people to nicotine.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.