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New Report Details Florida Youth E-Cigarette Use

A new report details youth youth e-cigarette use and electronic vapor product use in Florida over a period of extensive public education, health interventions.

Nine percent of Florida youth ages 11-17 are current users of electronic vapor products (EVPs), a decrease of nearly half from a peak of 16.6% in 2019.1,2 These are among the positive results in the recently finalized annual Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS), which also found that for the third straight year just 1.1% of Florida youth are currently using combustible cigarettes.

In addition to the drop in current use, Florida youth are also getting the message not to try EVPs, with 16.6% of Florida youth ages 11-17 having ever tried EVPs, compared to 27.9% in 2019, a decrease of more than 40%. EVPs remain the most common form through which Florida youth are exposed to nicotine and tobacco. The new findings show Florida in line with national trends, with a recent CDC report finding 7.7% of middle and high school students nationally using electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes).

“No amount of nicotine is safe, and for many of our youngest Floridians, the first experience with nicotine and tobacco has been in the form of e-cigarettes,” said Laura Corbin, Bureau Chief for Tobacco Free Florida. “Education, policies to reduce youth access and supportive resources for parents and other adults contribute to this great progress and these results validate the effectiveness of this important work.”

The updated FYTS numbers also show more than 5 out of 6 Florida youth (85.6%) are committed to never smoking and would not try a tobacco product even if offered to them by their best friend, and that other products such as smokeless tobacco, hookah and flavored cigars are almost never used by Florida youth.

Several factors have influenced the decrease in e-cigarette use among Florida youth. Tobacco Free Florida programs, including Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT), equip student advocates to educate about the health effects of nicotine and tobacco, and seek updates at the local policy level. Effective communication strategies used by the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida include creating and distributing engaging content across the social media channels most often used by Florida youth. Policy changes, such as raising to 21 the minimum age to purchase tobacco products and progress restricting fruity flavors of e-cigarettes, have also helped reduce the rate of e-cigarette use.

While the progress has been significant over the last several years, the need for persistence remains. Research shows young people who do use e-cigarettes are often heavy users of the product, and can often find it difficult to quit the highly addictive products.

Everyone involved in the lives of Florida youth, including parents, teachers, coaches and caregivers – can play a role in staying informed about e-cigarettes, their designs and the associated health risks. More information on Florida youth e-cigarette use and related topics is available online at Tobacco Free Florida.

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