Teen smoking rate in Florida plummets; teen vaping rate skyrockets

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Good news, bad news out of Florida.

According to a state study, only 6.9 percent of Florida kids under 18 are smoking cigarettes, the lowest level ever recorded. However, NOT a coincidence, 15.8 percent are now using e-cigs. That number is up from 5.4 percent in 2013.

This follows a similar trend all over the country in which the teen smoking rate has plummeted in the past five years; at the same time the teen vaping rate is skyrocketing. Kids are simply ditching cigarettes for a different nicotine delivery system, one that is easy to buy and ultimately cheaper than cigarettes. And studies show kids who vape are three times MORE likely to ultimately take up cigarettes, which makes total sense to me — they got the nicotine Jones already and they gotta keep getting their little nicotine fix somehow.

So, I consider it mixed news. Kids getting addicted to nicotine sucks no matter what the delivery system. This just adds more fuel to the fire to have the Food and Drug Administration crack down on e-cig marketing to teens. The agency was supposed to issue new regulations on e-cigs months ago, but for some reason is dragging its feet. In draft regulations released a year or two ago, the agency made no recommendations to control e-cig marketing and instead recommending simply banning e-cig sales to minors (which is already banned in most states — but kids can still easily buy e-cig products, especially online.).

From an article out of West Palm Beach, Florida:

The use of e-cigarettes, and this dramatic increase that we’re seeing among youth, threatens to normalize smoking again,” said Shannon Hughes, director of the Florida Health Department’s Community Health Promotion Division. “We have worked for decades to de-normalize smoking.”

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