Colorado survey shows drop in youth smoking

Data from the Healthy Kids Colorado survey shows promising trends in youth smoking, with both smoking and vaping declining since 2019, but some concerns remain.

COLORADO, United States — The latest data from the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey reveals that smoking and vaping among Colorado’s youth has declined since 2019, but even with this decline, some concerns remain.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released the results of the survey — the state’s only comprehensive survey of the health and well-being of young people, including high school and college students — in June.

According to the press release sent out on Tuesday, the results showed that for the first time since 2015, current e-cigarette use among high school students dropped significantly to 16% from 26% in 2019. smoking has also dropped to 3% from 6% and current use of any tobacco product has fallen from 29% to 17%.

Data indicates that students better understand the dangers of smoking and vaping. There has been an increase in the percentages of students who believe that parents and adults in their neighborhood believe that smoking and vaping are bad for young people.

“The latest data are encouraging,” said Natalya Versheure, tobacco program manager at the CDPHE during the press release, “but there is still work to be done. We recommend that parents, schools and communities continue to encourage young people to make healthy choices and reinforce tobacco-free habits.

According to the release, the percentage of students who say they vape because tobacco vaping products are cheaper than other tobacco products has declined since 2019, as has the percentage of students who think it would be easy to vape. obtain cigarettes or vaping products if they wanted to.

A number of policy changes over the past two years may have influenced these figures, including the EE proposal, which created a tax on vapor tobacco products and e-cigarettes effective January 1, 2021 and the Tobacco Law 21 which raised the minimum age for buying tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old.

More than 36 local ordinances in Colorado communities now also require retailers that sell tobacco products to obtain a license.

“Our goal is to ensure that every young person in Colorado can live their healthiest life,” CDPHE Executive Director Jill Hunsaker Ryan said in the statement. “We are encouraged by the decline in youth smoking. We will continue our prevention programs to ensure youth who smoke have access to resources and support that can help them quit and to prevent youth who do not smoke from starting.

While there are many positive trends in the latest survey data, there are still areas of concern.

The percentage of students who use vaping products because they are flavored has increased to 23%, while the percentage of current high school cigarette users who smoke menthol cigarettes has not changed.

The data also suggests that young people are experimenting with vaping products at a very young age. The percentage of high school students who tried vaping products before the age of 13 increased significantly, from 13% in 2019 to 22% in 2021. Usage among middle school students remained stable.

The CDPHE runs a number of programs aimed at helping young people in Colorado quit smoking, and youth ages 12-18 can access free, confidential support to quit smoking or vaping by texting. “Start My Quit” at 36072 or by visiting for more information.

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