Cigarette smoking has reached a historic low among Los Angeles County high school students, but vaping is on the rise, with more than 30 percent of students reporting that they have used e-cigarette products, according to a survey released Monday.
According to the 2017-18 California Student Tobacco Survey and the California Healthy Kids Survey, 10% of Los Angeles County high school students regularly use e-cigarettes, up from 6.4% the previous year. E-cigarettes used for vaping were the most commonly used tobacco product among high school students, the survey found. Only about 1.7% of students expressed a preference for cigarette smoking.
“A new generation has become addicted to nicotine through flavored vape products like e-cigarettes,” Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said in a statement. “The epidemic of our youth becoming addicted to nicotine by flavors and flavored tobacco is unacceptable, and we will work to reverse this trend as we partner with others to ensure a tobacco-free generation.”
According to the survey, 83% of high school students who use tobacco reported using a flavored product, with fruit or sweet flavors the most popular.
The survey also found that 61% of high school tobacco users purchased e-cigarettes from vape shops, although selling tobacco products to minors is illegal.
The figures are based on a survey of eighth-, 10th- and 12-grade students between September 2017 and June 2018. In Los Angeles County, more than 28,000 students took part in the survey.