The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) released a shared report on e-cigarette use among Louisiana’s youth. Data from the 2019 Louisiana Youth Tobacco Survey (LYTS) shows an alarming rise in e-cigarette use among middle and high school students.
In 2019, approximately 32 percent of high school students and 15 percent of middle school students used vape products more than once. These numbers have doubled since 2017 and tripled since 2015. The Louisiana data follows the national trend of increased vape use among youth and young adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has labeled youth vape use an epidemic and is currently investigating more than 1,600 cases of lung injury and 34 deaths connected to vape use.
“We strongly encourage Louisiana’s educational leadership and policy makers to heed these alarming youth vape statistics,” said Tonia Moore, director of TFL. “Without regulations for vape products at the state level and addiction counseling at the school and community level for our young people, they will continue to receive misinformation from Big Tobacco and vapor industry influencers that puts their health in immediate jeopardy.”
Additionally, the survey asked students to identify the brand they utilized. Fifty-five percent of high school students who have ever used a vape product reported using a JUUL product. The next leading brand accounted for 16 percent of high school students’ use. JUUL is by far the most well-known brand among youth, and “JUULing” is often synonymous with “vaping.”
“One of TFL’s main goals is to prevent the initiation of all tobacco use among young people,” said Moore. “We will continue to work with school districts around the state to train students, parents, and educators about the dangers of these products and long-term effects they have on the body and brain development.”
As interest around vaping has intensified, TFL has seen an increase in the number of requests for these trainings. The presentations are particularly beneficial because they address common misconceptions about vaping, vaping terminology, and the nicotine content in vape products, among others. To request a training for your school or organization, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
TFL is also in the process of launching an awareness campaign called Don’t Get FUULed, which targets youth and young adults. The digital campaign conveys similarities between vaping and traditional cigarette use and the tobacco industry's involvement in vaping companies. The campaign can be viewed by visiting https://fuul.us/.
The complete data report for the Louisiana Youth Tobacco Survey will be available in 2020.