Salt Lake City—National data released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows middle school and high school student vaping rates decreasing from 14.1% to 10% between 2022 and 2023. Vaping rates for Utah youth have also been on the decline over the past few years, from 12.4% to 7.4% between 2019 and 2023 according to the Utah Student Health and Risk Prevention (SHARP) survey. However, despite this progress, youth are still a targeted population of tobacco industry marketing tactics.
“Our state has made great progress in limiting access to vape products for youth. However, vaping continues to be a concern in our schools and families,” said Braden Ainsworth with the Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued warning letters to 15 online retailers for new, youth-appealing devices which resemble school supplies, television characters, toys, and snacks. These new vaping device designs make it even more difficult for parents and schools to identify such products. Parents are encouraged to talk openly with their children about the dangers of vaping.
“Parents and school administrators might be tempted to take surveillance and punishment measures, such as installing vape detectors or removing extracurricular activities, when they find kids vaping. Research shows these approaches—without treatment support—can create distrust in relationships, hurt students’ academic performance, and lead to more youth vaping. Instead, helping youth get into treatment proves to be most effective in addressing addictions and dependencies,” said Ainsworth.
A number of free resources are available to parents and schools to address vaping prevention and nicotine addiction. A few of them include:
- My Life My Quit: An evidence-based teen Quitline for tobacco and nicotine addiction. Disclaimer: This does require parental consent for youth to enroll.
- Parent Conversation Guide: Developed with a family therapist, this guide provides tips and health facts to assist parents in talking with their children about vaping.
- Empower Vape-Free Youth: This new campaign from the CDC has materials and videos for schools to educate youth on vaping.
- Vaping Prevention & Education: A campaign from the FDA for parents, schools, and students with resources on the dangers of nicotine.