State Survey: Youth Vaping Remains at Epidemic Levels
Youth vaping remains at epidemic levels according to a new state survey. The 2020 Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey says about 1 in 5 high school students use e-cigarettes and 70% of high school and middle school students report signs of nicotine dependence.
“The amount of nicotine that’s coming into that vape is really high compared to cigarettes,” explained Cathy Rude, a school wellness specialist for Hennepin County. “Often one e-pod of liquid can have an entire pack of cigarettes. Kids can suck on that throughout the day and they don’t realize how much nicotine they’re consuming.”
Rude said there are many factors to youth vaping including glamorous marketing and advertising. She said many students report vaping to socially fit in or address stress and mental health issues.
Hennepin County Principal Health Promotion Specialist, Ruth Tripp said many regular e-cigarette users are vaping marijuana, which has doubled in the last three years.
“Because adolescent is still developing, they’re highly likely to develop addiction to nicotine. And likely experience dependence at lower dosage than adults,” Tripp explained.
Tobacco Use Declines
While youth vaping remains a challenge, overall tobacco use is at a historic low. As of last year, cigarettes and cigar use was at 3%. MN strong tobacco prevention efforts have helped achieve these results.
“We’ve had strong clean indoor laws, keeping price of tobacco high, reducing access to tobacco products. We have effective treatment options that all worked to reduce tobacco use,” said Tripp.
Minnesota cities and counties have the authority to limit the sale of tobacco products. Some communities have already taken these steps.
Earlier this year, Hennepin County created a video to help parents understand the harm of vaping and different types of devices used for vaping.
The state health department is also offering a program for kids who want to quit tobacco use called My Life My Quit.