One in four Minnesota 11th-graders report they used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days — a 54-percent increase over three years, according to the latest Minnesota Student Survey. And state Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says nearly twice as many 8th-graders as in 2016 — 11 percent — report that they’ve vaped. “There is an epidemic of youth vaping occurring across Minnesota and indeed in the nation, and we must act quickly to prevent serious long-term health impacts,” she says. Officials say there are 55 confirmed or probable cases of severe lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use — many tied to vaping illicit T-H-C.
Top officials plan a statewide call Friday with educators, school nurses and school support staff. They say they’ll also send “tool kits” to schools and families. Governor Tim Walz says he supports a ban on flavored e-cigarettes, including menthol, because the product targets children.
The e-cigarette numbers come as use of chewing tobacco, cigars and cigarettes has fallen to record lows. Malcolm says, “That’s good news, but it threatens to be completely wiped out by what we’re seeing now with these trends in e-cigarette or vaping use.”