PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Department of Health released data Thursday that revealed a sharp increase in high school students reporting having vaped.
RIDOH found that 10.2% of high school students reported frequent vaping, compared with 3.7% in 2017.
The data comes from the departments 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The survey, which is conducted every other year, found that 48.9% of high school students had vaped before. Of all respondents, 30.1% of respondents said they currently vape, compared with 20.1% in 2017, meaning just under a third of high schoolers vaped at least one in the last 30 days at the time of the 2019 survey.
Reacting to the data, Gov. Gina M. Raimondo highlighted her recent ban on the sale of flavored vape products in Rhode Island.
“These numbers are a wake-up call for all of us,” Raimondo said in a news release. “Electronic cigarettes are dangerous. They’re also responsible for getting more teenagers addicted to nicotine every year, primarily because of products that come in candy-like flavors. That’s why I took action this September. Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our kids.”
The survey found that 16.4% of middle school students reported vaping in 2019, compared with 15.7% in 2017. Of those respondents, 6.5% reported current use.
“Every young person in Rhode Island deserves the chance to grow up healthy,” said Director of Health Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott. “To make this possible, we have to act on e-cigarettes now. Our history with traditional, lit cigarettes tells us that targeted, aggressive policies aimed at keeping kids safe can have dramatic impacts on rates of youth use.”
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