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.
âFor a long time, it was very rare that I was in a school and heard of a student smoking a cigarette,â 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.
âFor middle school kids, high school kids (students), young adults – I would say, definitely, e-cigarettes have become the new cigarette,â Edgecombe said.