Rising vaping rate poses public health threat to children

Posted 15 December 2022 at 1:53 pm


It is important for students, educators and parents to be aware of the public health threat posed by vaping.

Even with the youth smoking rate at an all-time low, the vaping rate is still on the rise and represents a serious concern for young people. According to the Food & Drug Administration and the Center for Tobacco Products — the agency that enforces the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act — e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product on the market among middle and high school students, with one in nine high schoolers and one in 36 middle schoolers vaping.

Data collected locally in Orleans County shows that 29.9 percent of 11th graders have used an electronic cigarette or vape pen (like Juul) with nicotine within their lifetime, while 21.2% of 9th graders have used.

For teachers and parents, e-cigarettes can be tough to spot, with some devices as small as a USB flash drive. They also emit low levels of aerosol — “vapor” — and can be used discreetly. Most contain nicotine, with some containing as much as a pack of cigarettes.

Other facts to know:

  • Vape aerosol contains a variety of chemicals — not just nicotine.
  • The flavors themselves may contain chemicals that pose health risks.
  • Users are likely inhaling potentially toxic metal particles like chromium, nickel, lead, tin and aluminum.

Teens looking to kick vaping to the curb can find resources to help them quit by visiting smokefree.gov and teen.smokefree.gov/quit-vaping, or by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or texting DITCHJUUL to 88709. Locally, teens — and adults — should consult with their health care providers for help. Many work in conjunction with a tobacco treatment specialist, a professional specially trained to assist people wanting to quit nicotine.

Brittany Bozzer


Reality Check Coordinator

Roswell Park Cancer Institute