NEW YORK — The New York State Department of Health (DOH) is continuing to work to reduce vaping among youth, with the end goal of eliminating it entirely.
A much larger percentage of youth and young adults use e-cigarettes compared to older adults.
According to a press release, across New York State, 18.7 percent of high schoolers vaped in 2022. A national survey from the same year among youth who vape found that more than half of respondents intend to quit. To help young people quit the use of e-cigarettes, the Department and the New York State Education Department are working together to provide students with materials that will inform them about free services available to help them successfully quit vaping.
“Exposure to nicotine during adolescence can cause addiction and damage to the developing adolescent brain, lungs, and overall health,” State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said in the release. “The Department remains committed to decreasing vaping among young people and providing them with the resources that will help keep them informed, healthy, and safe.”
DOH has developed posters, palm cards, and rack cards for middle schools and high schools/young adults, in both English and Spanish, to promote the services of ‘DropTheVape’, a confidential text-based service, and the New York State Smokers’ Quitline. DOH remains dedicated to ending the use of e-cigarettes among all young people across New York State.
E-cigarettes are by far the most used tobacco product by high school students in New York State. Among high school students, nearly 1 in 5 (18.7 percent) reported vaping nicotine compared to a record low of about 1 in 50 (2.1 percent) who reported smoking cigarettes in 2022. There is some evidence that current vaping among youth could lead to future cigarette use.
In a national survey, middle school and high school students said they first tried an e-cigarette because a friend used them and curiosity. Among youth who continue to vape, their most common reasons for using e-cigarettes are they feel anxious, stressed, or depressed, or to get a high or buzz from the nicotine.
Most e-liquids contain nicotine, the highly addictive chemical in all tobacco products. Nicotine can harm the developing brains of adolescents and young adults, which can:
• Lead to lower impulse control and mood disorders.
• Disrupt attention and learning among youth and young adults.
• Increase the risk for future addiction to other drugs.
DropTheVape is a free, confidential text-based youth vaping cessation service for youth ages 13-17 and young adults ages 18-24. The service is evidence-based and was developed by the Truth Initiative with input from young people who want to quit vaping. The messages show the benefits and challenges of quitting, to help young people feel motivated, inspired, and supported throughout their quitting process.
To date, the initiative has helped more than 600,000 young people nationally on their journey to quit vaping. Young people can access the service by texting DropTheVape to 88709.
Information about e-cigarettes can be found on the DOH website at: https://health.ny.gov/prevention/tobacco_control/campaign/e-cigarettes/. The New York State Smokers’ Quitsite can be found at: https://www.nysmokefree.com/. Drop the Vape Materials can be ordered at: https://health.ny.gov/publications/4208/n_zpub.htm#smoking_and_tobacco_use.