Be Smart, Don’t Start!
Tobacco use among Middle and High School Students has thankfully decreased from 2011 to 2017. However, 1 in 5 High School Students and 1 in 18 Middle School Students currently use tobacco products, almost half of those who use a tobacco products report using two or more tobacco products according to The Center for Tobacco Products.
While cigarette and cigar use among teens is on the decline, the use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices are beginning to skyrocket. The 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey found that 1.5 million more students began to use e-cigarettes in 2018 vs. 2017. This is partially due the availability of flavors that can be added to the devices and how discretely they can be used on school campuses.
These devices are often seen as less harmful because there is not any tar in the product, however they still contain nicotine and many other addictive chemicals. According to The American Association of Poison Control Centers, the vapor is not harmless like many may think, it contains chemicals that cause cancer, the chemicals can cause harm to unborn babies and is a significant source of indoor air pollution.
What can be done to prevent teenage use of cigarettes and other smoking devices? Legislators are currently fighting to prevent easy access to tobacco products and end marketing of tobacco products aimed at youth such as flavors. An important factor in ending teen tobacco use is educating not only the teen but also retailers about the role they play in selling to minors.