What to Know
- About 13,000 public middle school students in NYC have vaped within the last 30 days, according to data released by health officials
- DOH says e-cig use is higher among older students: 9 percent in 7th grade and 8.4 percent in 8th grade, compared to 2.6 percent in 6th grade
- The New York City- specific data was released a day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a plan to combat e-cig use in the state
About 13,000 public middle school students in New York City have vaped within the last 30 days, according to startling data released by health officials.
The city’s Health Department has sounded the alarm on vaping among middle school students saying that in 2018, 1 in 15 public middle school students – nearly 13,000 students or 6.7 percent – used e-cigarettes – far more than regular cigarette use.
Health officials also say that e-cigarette use was higher among older students: 9 percent in 7th grade and 8.4 percent in 8th grade, compared to 2.6 percent in 6th grade.
In addition, 14.4 percent of middle school students, or about 29,000 students, have tried e-cigarettes, according to the city’s Health Department. Trying e-cigarettes was more common among older students, as well: 5.6 percent of 6th grade students had tried e-cigarettes, while 21.4 percent of 8th grade students, or 1 in 5, had tried e-cigarettes.
“E-cigarettes threaten decades of progress we have made in fighting youth nicotine use,” the city’s Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said in a statement. “Our data show that Big Tobacco is luring young New Yorkers into nicotine addiction with flavors that appeal to kids. Adding the taste of bubblegum and cotton-candy to this unregulated product should not obscure how dangerous it can be.”
Additionally, Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza said that “e-cigarette use is harmful, and in partnership with the Health Department, we are educating students and families about its risks.”
The New York City- specific data was released a day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a plan to combat, what he called a "frightening public health phenomenon" -- a plan he hoped will protect New Yorkers from what he deemed as “harmful and addictive” vaping products and vaping-related illnesses.
In an effort to curtail the use of vaping, Cuomo ordered the state’s Department of Health to start an investigation into e-cigarette companies and their products. Additionally, he directed the Department of Health to require shops to post warnings on vaping products the dangers of vaping.
Cuomo’s plan of action also includes a proposed legislation that will ban flavored e-cigarettes because he says it specifically targets sales to young people.
According to Department of Health data, nearly 40 percent of 12th grade students and 27 percent of high school students in New York State are now using e-cigarettes, and this increase is largely driven by flavored e-liquids.
The CDC said last week that the number of vaping-related illnesses jumped to at least 450 in 33 states including 41 in New York State.
At least five deaths have been reported.
The illnesses in New York State have been linked to black market e-cigarettes.