A recent study by the United States Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 3 million middle and high school students nationwide had used a tobacco product in the past month, as well as electronic cigarettes and cigars, as a means of distant communication. second, were the most used products.
Nationwide e-cigarette use among youth parallels what Humboldt County Public Health is seeing among local middle and high school students, said Caitlin Giddings, county health education specialist and director. of the Tobacco-Free Humboldt project, in a press release. However, cigarettes are the #2 choice over cigars.
“In the 2019-2020 school year, just over 30% of Humboldt high school students surveyed said they had ever vaped, and nearly 12% said they had vaped in the past 30 days,” Giddings said. “The second highest category of use rate was just over 12% of Humboldt high school students said they had ever used cigarettes and about 3% said they had used cigarettes in the past 30 days.”
On Thursday, the CDC and FDA released the results of their study of teenage tobacco use and found that one in nine, or 11.3%, middle and high school students said they currently use tobacco, and e-cigarettes were by far the most popular with 14.1%, 2.14 million, of high school students and 3.3%, 380,000, of college students reporting use. Cigar smoking, which was most common among black students, was a distant second at 2.8%.
About 27.2% of students who reported using tobacco products had poor academic performance; 18.3% reported severe psychological distress; 16% identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual; 13.5% were non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native; and 12.5% had low family affluence, according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Deepa Camenga, an addiction medicine specialist and pediatrician, told a SciLine press briefing earlier this year that the No. 1 reason young people say they use e-cigarettes is to cope with stress, to anxiety and depression, while reason #2 is getting a high.
This is concerning because the country is experiencing a public health emergency related to the mental health of young people and adolescents, Camenga said, and the more they present with untreated or undertreated symptoms, such as anxiety, depression and stress, the more likely they will continue. the use of electronic cigarettes and other substances.
On Tuesday, California voters voted to keep a 2020 ban on flavored tobacco products like e-cigarettes, though it still allows the sale of other flavored tobacco products like hookah products and cigarettes at home. menthol.
According to County Public Health, 60% of Humboldt County ninth graders and 67% of 11th graders said it was “fairly easy” to get e-cigarette products, and 54% of 37 stores interviewed in unincorporated parts of the county in January sold tobacco to underage youths.
Sonia Waraich can be reached at 707-441-0504.