October 17, 2018

DPH: High school students' vape use at 14.7%

Photo | Wikimedia Commons
Photo | Wikimedia Commons
Various types of e-cigarettes.

More high school students are using electronic nicotine devices known as vapes than ever before, according to the state Department of Public Health (DPH).

In a recent Youth Tobacco Survey, DPH said 14.7 percent of over 2,200 high school students in the state reported using vapes in 2017. That represents a significant increase from 2015, when 7.2 percent of students reported using the nicotine devices.

Under the latest survey, about 10 percent of freshmen and 20 percent of seniors said they currently use vapes.

More than half of respondents said they used their devices for substances other than nicotine, including marijuana, hash oil, THC or THC wax.

Friends and family members were the most common ways that high schoolers were introduced to vaping, DPH said.

Nicotine negatively affects brain development in teenagers, according to a report by the Surgeon General. Meantime, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently called youth e-cigarette use an "epidemic" and notified manufacturers on how to reduce youth access and use.

Many teens, however, view e-cigarettes as a safer product than regular cigarettes based on false claims, said DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino.

"These results are especially troubling because youth are generally unaware of the presence and level of nicotine in their devices and can become addicted with only a few puffs," Pino said. "Although the cigarette smoking rate continues to decline among this age group, vaping continues to increase."

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View the survey results here

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