Vaping Trends Growing Among Minors

The trends surrounding the use of electronic cigarettes are continuing to grow – despite the warnings from health officials. Sandy Bernier is a tobacco control coordinator with the Fond du Lac County Health Department, who has worked for years to shrink the numbers of kids smoking conventional cigarettes. 

But she is concerned about the resurgence of nicotine addictions in kids, as the use of vaping products rises in popularity. She says “about 13-percent of Wisconsin youth are using these products, whereas you look at cigarette smoking rates when I first started in ’98 – that cigarette smoking rate for high school was 38-percent, we’re down to about 8-percent now. So we’ve done a lot of work to educate kids and parents about the harms of cigarettes, but you know, they keep hearing ‘well it’s just water vapor’.”

There are several different types of E-Cigarettes on the market, including the Juul, which has a sleek design and looks like a flash drive. One pod of liquid used in a Juul can have the nicotine equivalent of an entire pack of cigarettes. 

Bernier adds that the accessibility of e-cigarettes is also a concern, because “when you look at the Fond
du Lac
School District

survey, I think it’s like 47-percent are sharing them. So I don’t know if
they’re pooling their money or ordering them online. Because sometimes online –
like I ordered two Red Bull E-Cigarettes online, asked me if I was eighteen,
clicked yes, paid $9.99 for them and they came right in the mail.”

She says there are regular compliance checks around Fond du Lac and the county, “and we have to keep our rate of sales in Wisconsin below 20-percent to minors. We
include these devices and we include vape shops when we do our tobacco
compliance checks. The last round in the city we had zero sales – I think that
was the first time historically I’ve seen that. But we’ve had these devices
sold to minors.”

Bernier also says some of those vape shops are hard to find – and they have to search online to even find where they are located.