Vaping, e-cigs use growing among Renville County youth – West Central Tribune

Tepfer blames the increase on the growing use of e-cigarettes and vaping by youths. She told the Renville County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday that the county and area are seeing an “epidemic” in increased tobacco use by youth.

“We’re hooking a whole new generation of kids,” said Tepfer.

In the past year, Minnesota has seen a 78 percent increase in e-cigarette use by high school students and a 48 percent increase by middle school (grades 6-8) students, according to Tepfer.

She said many e-cigarette and vaping brands such as JUUL are marketed to young people with a wide variety of sweet and candy-flavored products. “Kids don’t see much risk in it at all,” said Tepfer.

Many of the young users do not realize these products contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and harmful to brain development. Popular JUUL Lab devices use pods containing 5 percent nicotine. That compares to 1.8 percent nicotine found in regular cigarettes, she said.

Users are inhaling an aerosol mix that contains many of the same, toxic and carcinogenic substances found in tobacco smoke.

Tepfer told the Tribune that RAPD has not undertaken a survey of youth use of vaping and e-cigarette use in the past year, but believes local use rates match those of other youths in the state. A recent Minnesota Department of Health survey found that 26 percent of high school students reported vaping in the past 30 days.

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