Survey: Louisiana youth interest in vaping is on the rise
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Interest in e-cigarettes is growing among Louisiana’s middle school and high school students, despite deaths across the country attributed to vaping, according to a new survey.
The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living found the number of students in the state who say they used vape products has doubled since 2017.
The survey shows that in 2019, about 32% of high school students and 15% of middle school students in Louisiana reported vaping more than once, according to The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate. About one in four middle school students and half of high school students said they have tried vaping.
Though e-cigarette purchases are limited to people ages 18 and older, a large portion of the students surveyed who vaped said they bought the devices from friends.
Schools were randomly selected for the anonymous survey, which was optional for students to complete. About 2,700 students were surveyed.
Most students said they tried vaping because they were curious, with those who vaped regularly saying they were influenced by friends or family members.
Twenty-nine cases of vaping-related illness have been reported to the Louisiana Department of Health. The people involved ranged in age from 17 to 71, with a median age of 28. Over half said they used a mixture of nicotine and THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, in their e-cigarettes, while 21% reported using just nicotine.
Nationally, 1,604 cases of lung injury from e-cigarette use have been reported across 49 states, with 34 deaths confirmed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.