Teens Using E-Cigarettes In Marin Surges

Jeffrey Schaub
September 24, 2018 - 10:02 am

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Twice as many teens and adolescents are vaping as they were two years ago, according to a new statewide survey.

The regular use of electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices in Marin County increased from two to five percent among seventh graders from 2016 to 2018, Marin County health officials said. Among ninth graders, regular use jumped from from nine to 20 percent and for 11th graders, regular vaping increased from 11 to 28 percent. 

The use is rampant, according to high school students who spoke to KCBS Radio. 

“Sometimes I see them in the bathroom doing that kind of stuff and like you just don’t even notice,” said Julius, a sophomore at San Rafael High School.

Almost half of high school juniors admitted that they've tried vaping, according to the annual California Healthy Kids Survey.

“We know from other studies that children who use these products are more likely to take up smoking,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin’s Public Health Officer, in an interview with KCBS. “I think this is a real sign that we need aggressive policy solutions here to protect our young people.”

The Food and Drug Administration has said there is an "epidemic" of teens using e-cigarette that needs to be stopped. FDA officials warn that teens will become addicted to nicotine or be exposed to toxins with unknown health effects. 

Just like San Francisco, the Marin County Board of Supervisors will consider banning sales of flavored devices in unincorporated parts of the county. Willis believes that the only significant way to tackle “an out of control epidemic,” is for cities and counties to regulate sales of e-cigarettes or vaping devices.

“Other students want to do it, I mean that’s like their problem but like I just don’t think it’s like good for them,” said Cynthia, a sophomore at San Rafael high school.

Written by Arooba Kazmi.