The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced Monday that more than 30% of high school students across L.A. County have reported using e-cigarette products, prompting health officials to share the dangers of underage smoking.
Officials with the public health department said in a news release Monday that 10% of high school students regularly use e-cigarette products, according to the latest data from the California Student Tobacco Survey and the California Healthy Kids Survey. E-cigarettes and other vaping devices were the most commonly used tobacco product among high school students, while cigarette smoking prevalence for high school students in Los Angeles County reached a historic low of 1.7%.
“Today, vapes have basically replaced smoking,” Castaic Middle School Principal Bob Brauneisen said in a previous edition of The Sunday Signal. “They used to be this big device that fit in your hand, and they still make those, but, usually, they’re easy to conceal because they’re the size of a thumb drive.”
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control estimates vaping use among high school students has been on the rise since 2011. The CDC has also found that the younger a person is when they start using tobacco, the more difficult it is to quit, Monday’s release states, adding, 90% of adult smokers began smoking before the age of 18.
“A new generation has become addicted to nicotine through flavored vape products like e-cigarettes,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “The epidemic of our youth becoming addicted to nicotine by flavors and flavored tobacco is unacceptable, and we will work to reverse this trend as we partner with others to ensure a tobacco-free generation.”
To reverse the increasing use of e-cigarettes among youth, the CDC recommends state and local governments implement a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products, according to Monday’s release, but in the meantime, officials with the Department of Public Health said parents can find more resources and information about vaping by visiting LAQuits.com/vaping.