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E-cigarettes much more popular than tobacco among Wisconsin kids, study shows

November 16, 2016 GMT

Flavored nicotine and vapor have overtaken tobacco among Wisconsin’s youngest smokers.

A study released Wednesday shows middle school and high school students are shunning their packs of Marlboro Lights in favor of V2, VaporFi and Mig, and are doing so in large numbers.

The 2016 Youth Tobacco Survey from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said traditional cigarette use is way down, but vaping is way up.

Twice as many middle schoolers inhale e-cigarettes than smoke regular cigarettes, 2.6 percent to 1.3 percent, and 13.3 percent of high school students vape compared to 8.1 percent smoking, the survey said.

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Why? It’s the flavor, including mint, candy, fruit or chocolate, that’s the draw.

“We are very alarmed by this trend,” said State Health Officer Karen McKeown in the DHS release.

“It’s great that fewer youth are smoking, but it’s very troubling that candy and fruit flavors are luring more kids into giving e-cigarettes a try.”

While minors are switching to e-cigarettes, it is illegal for retailers to sell them to minors (under 18), according to state law.

“Even as we celebrate the incredible success we’ve had in reducing youth smoking in Wisconsin, we can’t ignore the fact an increasing number of youth are turning to these candy- and fruit-flavored products that we still know so little about,” McKeown said.