E-cigarettes and Vaping: The New Tobacco Battleground

After years of decline, tobacco use is rising across the country, especially among youth. Fueled by the unfounded “this is safer than cigarettes” message that tobacco companies have peddled to the public, e-cigarette use among high-school students has jumped more than 15% since 2016.

The term e-cigarette, or electronic cigarette, covers a variety of delivery systems for nicotine or cannabis based products. These battery powered devices  produce an aerosol made from heating a liquid form of the desired substance. Various flavoring can be added to the liquid cartridge, making the taste of smoking more appealing to young users.  Vaping is a common term for e-cigarette use, and Juul is the most popular brand in the US. 

Community Commons has curated the following resources to help you tackle e-cigarette use in your community.

Youth and Young Adults

According to the American Heart Association, an estimated about 3 million high school students, or 20 percent, used e-cigarettes in 2018, compared to 22,000 students, or 1.5 percent, in 2011. Between 2017 and 2018 alone, 1.5 million more young people used e-cigarettes – a nearly 80 percent increase among high school students and a nearly 50 percent increase among middle school students.

Since nearly all tobacco use begins in adolescence, this dramatic rise in numbers has sparked renewed research and prevention efforts. 

Policy and Tobacco Control

Public policy and information campaigns helped reduce combustible cigarette use from over 42% in 1965 to 14% in 2017. That same work is now being applied to e-cigarettes, with hope that the success that comes from experience will turn the rising tide of the vaping epidemic.

Resources for Prevention and Cessation

Fortunately, there are already a number of reputable anti-tobacco organizations retooling their work to fit this new crisis. 

Cross-Cutting Theme: Mental Health and Substance Use

Those dealing with mental health issues are among the most common users of tobacco products, adding an extra layer of support needed to help them avoid or quit using tobacco.

One helpful way to work across two or more of the Vital Conditions for Health & Wellbeing is to consider cross-cutting themes, which help us address complex challenges through a holistic, interconnected approach. 

The following resources are geared toward those with mental health issues combined with substance use.

 Related Topics

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Substance Use

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Tobacco Use

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Mental and Behavioral Health