In the wake of a new state survey that details a significant rise in youth vaping, Maine's governor's office has announced a new education and prevention campaign.
“Survey results for 2019 show that 28.7 percent of Maine high school students report currently using e-cigarettes (at least one time in the past 30 days), an increase from 15.3 percent in 2017,” according to a news release on the 2019 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey.
And the number of Maine high schoolers who report ever trying vaping also increased, from 33.2 percent in 2017 to 45 percent in 2019.
“Notably, the 2019 responses show a decrease in the percentage of Maine students who smoke or use other forms of conventional tobacco products,” said Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, which collaborated with the state Department of Education on the survey. “But they need to realize that vaping also poses great risks to their health.”
Similarly, the survey showed e-cigarette use increased among Maine middle school students. Current use went from 3.8 percent in 2017 to 7 percent in 2019. The number of middle schoolers who report ever trying vaping rose from 10.4 percent in 2017 to 16.3 percent in 2019.
“Vaping poses a serious risk to the health of young people across Maine, and as this disturbing data shows, far too many are drawn in by the false allure of e-cigarettes,” Gov. Janet Mills said in a news release. “Young people know that smoking cigarettes is dangerous to their health. Now, it is important they understand that vaping is also dangerous. My Administration will launch an education and prevention campaign to aid in that effort. We will also accelerate the implementation of Maine’s law requiring buyers of tobacco products to be at least 21 years old.”
The prevention campaign, which will use social media, YouTube, TV, radio, and other platforms, will be funded with revenue from the sales of vaping products, the release states.