High School Students Are Vaping Less, Maine CDC Survey Shows


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High School Students Are Vaping Less, Maine CDC Survey Shows
High School Students Are Vaping Less, Maine CDC Survey Shows

The 2023 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey shows there’s been a 13-percent drop in high school students vaping since 2019.

MAINE, USA — The Maine CDC’s latest numbers show the use of vaping products among high school students is on a downward trend. E-cigarettes and vaping devices have been the tobacco products youth most often use since 2014, according to the CDC.

The 2023 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey shows there’s been a 13-percent drop in high school students vaping since 2019.

The survey taken in 2023 shows 16 percent of high school students reported vaping at least once in the previous 30 days, which is down from 29 percent in 2019. It also shows the number of students who said they had ever used an e-vapor product decreased from 2019’s 45 percent to 2023’s 30 percent.

“Students have been saying ‘It’s just not worth it,'” Lee Anne Dodger, SoPo Unite‘s Program Director, said.

SoPo Unite is a drug-free coalition for South Portland, and Dodger works out of the South Portland High School. She said she’s seen fewer students vaping since April when South Portland banned flavored tobacco sales.

“A number of students have come to our social work staff and said that they are quitting now because they can’t get the flavors and their suppliers are charging them more,” she said.

Leah Day’s son became addicted to nicotine through vaping when he was in high school and eventually went to the hospital for detox treatment.

“It still affects his life, even as an adult now, nobody could have, I couldn’t have predicted,” Day said. “Whenever he’s stressed, it calls to him like a siren song, and he ends up starting again and then he has to go through this withdrawal period again. I think it’s going to go on for the rest of his life.”

Ninety percent of addiction starts with substance use before the age of 18, according to the Partnership to End Addiction.

Portland Public Health’s Tobacco Prevention Program Coordinator Val Johnstone said educating people when they’re young can clear up misconceptions and teach people about the health risks. She said one of the biggest misconceptions is people think vaping is harmless.

“It’s definitely a difficult thing to quit, that’s why it’s so important when we’re addressing tobacco prevention we’re starting young. We’re looking at young people, so hopefully they never get started,” Johnstone said.

Johnstone said she believes flavor bans in several towns around the state are driving down the amount of young people vaping, as well.

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