- Associated Press - Monday, February 19, 2018

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Surveys of North Dakota high school students shows the use of electronic cigarettes is surging among young people.

The number of teens using e-cigarettes at least once in the past 30 days increased from 1.6 percent in 2011 to about 19 percent last year, according to the North Dakota Department of Health’s Youth Tobacco Survey. The number of young people who’ve tried vaping increased from 4.5 percent in 2011 to about 39 percent in 2017.

The Minot Daily News reports that the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey found 20.6 percent of North Dakota high school students use e-cigarettes.

“We don’t necessarily see the correlation that youth are switching to e-cigarettes, but we are seeing the amount of youth that just try e-cigarettes is huge and it’s increasing. There are kids who will never touch a cigarette but will use electronic,” said Neil Charvat, program director for Tobacco Prevention and Control with the North Dakota Department of Health.

Charvat said there’s a link between the effects of nicotine on young brains and the increased propensity for addiction.

“I have been seeing, for the last year and half, these devices expand to a segment of the young population that would never have thought of smoking,” said Pat McKone, regional senior director with the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest. “Last year, for the first time, e-cigarette use surpassed regular cigarette use with youth.”

The American Lung Association supports restricting electronic products to adults-only tobacco stores and raising the tax to make products less affordable to youth. The association recently gave North Dakota failing grades on a state report card for its low tobacco tax of 44 cents per pack and a law allowing the sale of tobacco to anyone age 18 and older. The association supports increasing the age to 21.

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Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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