Earlier this year, the Ohio governor Mike DeWine announced his plan to raise the age of legal tobacco purchase to 21. This action is, in large part, a response to the rise of teen vaping that has been grabbing national headlines.
Ohio is not alone. Concerns about the increase of smoking and vaping among young people have motivated 15 other states as of May 2019 to pass bills that raise the age of smoking to 21.
In the beginning, vapes and e-cigarettes were marketed to adults as an alternative to smoking that could even help them quit. While this may have been the case for some, vaping has exploded among youth and the result is a rise in tobacco use and nicotine addiction in young people.
Teen Vaping Statistics
The research on teen vaping has produced some disturbing statistics; the use of e-cigarettes and vaping is rapidly expanding. In 2011, only 1.5% of high schoolers were using e-cigarettes. By 2017, however, almost 12% of high school students reporting regular vaping tendencies.
While researchers are still gathering data from the last two years, it’s thought that the number of young people who vape is continuing to rise. In addition to concerns over the safety of vaping, people want to know what these vaping statistics mean for teen smoking.
More research needs to be done, but it’s safe to say that using e-cigarettes has been shown to increase the likelihood of smoking among young people. Additionally, with flavorings and aggressive marketing campaigns, e-cigarettes are more attractive than traditional cigarettes to people who have never smoked, making them the perfect entry path into using tobacco:
- 40% of teens who vape were never smokers before trying e-cigarettes.
- An estimated 30% of teens who vape started smoking cigarettes within six months.
My Life, My Quit Campaign
Now that researchers and health professionals know more about teenagers and vaping, people are taking action. Organizations and programs like My Life, My Quit are trying to help educate teens about e-cigarettes and share information about the harmful effects of vaping.
So many teens are not even aware that there is nicotine in the vaping products they are buying and using since advertising does not focus on what’s inside the products. This lack of knowledge is part of the problem, and efforts to educate teens about vaping, nicotine and smoking can go far.
State Initiatives to Reduce Teen Vaping Epidemic
States across the nation are also taking action to address the growing vaping epidemic. Michigan was the first state to ban the sale of flavored vaping products in an attempt to reduce marketing and sales of e-cigarettes to young people.
In addition to passing a bill to raise the age of tobacco purchase to 21, Ohio has also partnered with National Jewish Health to share information about the negative effects of vaping and to help young people quit. It’s likely that these efforts will build as other states and federal health officials start paying attention.
Tips to Help Teens Quit Vaping
Just like quitting cigarettes, quitting vaping can be extremely difficult. If you are trying to quit vaping, there are a few things you can try, including:
- Exercise: Physical activity releases endorphins and can help you resist your cravings when they are at their worst.
- Use a distraction: If you can get past the worst few minutes of your cravings, they will pass. Try to find activities that distract you from your discomfort like playing a game, reading a blog or even doodling.
- Remove temptation: Throw out all of your vapes, e-cigarettes and tobacco products.
- Find solutions for stress: Many people start vaping to relieve stress, so try to find an alternative way to deal with regular stress and the stress of quitting. Go for a walk, breathe deeply or talk to a friend.
- Celebrate your success: Recognizing your success in quitting, however short it may be at the beginning, can inspire you to stay clean for life.
- Get help: If you find that you cannot quit alone, there are many different treatment options and programs that can help.
If you or your teen is struggling with addiction to tobacco or another drug, treatment options can help. Reach out to The Recovery Village Columbus today to learn more.
Brookbank, Mike. “Ohio joins 8 other states to reduce vaping among teens.” News5Cleveland.com, July 12, 2019. Accessed September 26, 2019.
Associated Press. “Ohio Raising Age to Buy Tobacco Products to 21.” U.S. News, July 20, 2019. Accessed September 26, 2019.
Truth Initiative. “E-cigarettes: Facts, stats and regulations.” July 19, 2019. Accessed September 26, 2019.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Teens and e-cigarettes.” Accessed September 26, 2019.
NPR News. “Michigan governor orders state ban on sale of flavored e-cigarettes.” September 4, 2019. Accessed September 26, 2019.