‘The New Cigarette’ – Vape Product Use Soars Among Nebraska Teens | Crime and courts

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Almost 40% of high school students in Nebraska reported trying an e-cigarette, while 22.6% said they were regular e-cigarette users, according to a 2019 survey, the most recent available. Lincoln Public Schools have noted an increase in vape pen confiscations, while the eight people Lincoln Police have arrested in connection with tobacco store break-ins are all under the age of 21.


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Not so long ago, the consumption of tobacco and nicotine among the populations most vulnerable to the harmful effects of these substances decreased in Nebraska. The school war on tobacco – fought over years of educational campaigns – was almost won.

In 2013, just 12% of high school students in the state said they actively used cigarettes, according to a report on student health and risk prevention.

In 2019, the data had become even more promising. Just over 6% of Nebraska high school students surveyed said they were active cigarette smokers, and less than one in five said they had ever tried a cigarette.

“For a long time, it was very rare that I was in a school and heard of a student smoking a cigarette,” said Abbe Edgecombe, school community intervention and prevention coordinator who facilitates drug prevention education in Lancaster County. “It just didn’t happen.”

But in the same time frame – as the usual use of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, cigars and even shisha pens declined – the use of vaping products, commonly referred to as e-cigarettes, skyrocketed, becoming the tool of choice for teens both nationally and in Nebraska.

“For middle school kids, high school kids (students), young adults – I would say, definitely, e-cigarettes have become the new cigarette,” Edgecombe said.


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