ST PAUL, Minn. — A new survey shows that 1 in 5 Minnesota high schoolers are vaping, and 70% of high school and middle school users reporting signs of nicotine dependency.
The survey, conducted by the Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey (MYTS), did suggest that the growth of e-cigarette use, but the number of users still remain high, especially with teens.
New data shows that 20.5% of high school students have used tobacco in the past 30 days, and 4.1% of middle school students have used tobacco in that same span.
Both numbers are down from 2017 when the data showed 26.4% of high schoolers and 5.2% of middle schoolers using tobacco within the last 30 days of being surveyed.
“This research suggests our public health efforts are working but also that there is a need for continued work,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm in a press release. “In particular, the data on youth vaping alarms us, as we see how this industry continues to use flavors, advertising, internet sales and other tactics to keep addicting youth to harmful nicotine.”
According to new state data, nearly 80% of students say the first tobacco product they used was flavored.
The study also said that more than 70% of students who have used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days show at least one sign of nicotine dependency.
“These new data are consistent with conversations I’ve had with teens over the past three years in focus groups we conducted about youth vaping behavior and in our vaping prevention workshops,” said Elyse Levine Less, executive director at the Tobacco-Free Alliance in a release. “Teens do not intend to get addicted to nicotine and underestimate the risk.”
Of the teen users surveyed:
- 60.2% say they vape before going into a situation where vaping isn't allowed
- 54.3% say they find themselves reaching for their e-cigarettes without thinking about it
- 30.8% say cravings are intolerable when they haven't vaped for a few hours
- 26.7% say they drop everything to purchase e-cigarettes or e-juice
According to the survey, 70.4% of Minnesota teen users admitted to at least one of the four.
When it comes to cigarette and cigar use, the number of users has dropped to the lowest ever recorded by the survey with just over 3% of high school students saying they've smoked cigarettes or cigars in the last 30 days.
For more information on the survey, click here.