In Kentucky, rates of youth cigarette smoking have been decreasing, but the usage of e-cigarettes has surged. The percentage of twelfth grade Kentucky students using e-cigarettes jumped from 12.2% to 26.7% from 2016 to 2018. This upward trend for youth e-cigarette use is being seen by high schools nationwide with 25% of all high school students reporting use of electronic nicotine products in 2019.
While teen vaping has increased, new research from JAMA Pediatrics indicates that the increase does not indicate youth are resistant to cessation. In fact, the study showed that nearly half of the youth surveyed want to quit using e-cigarettes but can’t, and nearly a quarter have tried to completely quit in the past 12 months. This finding calls for increased cessation programs designed for youth that are accessible and targeted for e-cigarettes.
Youth e-cigarette use can lead to numerous health concerns such as respiratory problems, increased blood pressure, and lung disease, in addition to priming the developing brain for addiction. Also, new research indicates that youth who use e-cigarettes products are up to 7 times more likely to get COVID-19 than non-e-cigarette users.
Given the recent research findings showing the desire to quit among youth e-cigarette users and the rising list of health concerns associated with e-cigarette use, it is more important than ever before for increased cessation programming and public educational campaigns to warn of these dangers for youth. State and community level investments in tobacco prevention and cessation resources is critical and highly effective way to tackle social norms around teen vaping, help target youth tobacco users to quit, and prevent tobacco use initiation among the general public and specific populations, such as youth.
Looking to quit? Check out these tobacco cessation programs:
- The Kentucky Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program offers several free resources for Kentuckians who want to quit using tobacco products, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vapes, cigars and dip, chew and other forms of smokeless tobacco.
- 1-800-QUIT-NOW, Kentucky’s Tobacco Quitline, offers one-on-one coaching for tobacco users who are ready to quit. Learn more at www.quitnowkentucky.org.
- Aspire is a teen-savvy online tobacco prevention and cessation program for middle and high school students. The self-paced program features original videos, animation and games; testimonies from peers, doctors, smokers and non-smokers; information on short- and long-term health consequences of tobacco; tips and resources to avoid the temptation to smoke or to stop smoking.