According to the new data, 19% of high school and 3% of middle school students are current vapers, and 34% of high school and 8% of middle school students reported ever using an e-cigarette. This is not a statistically significant increase from 2017.
The data has indicated that four in five Minnesota students reported that the first tobacco product they ever tried was flavoured. Overall tobacco use declined to 20.5% of high school and 4.1% of middle school students having used a tobacco product in the past 30 days, compared to 26.4% and 5.2% in 2017.
Meanwhile last December, the federal government increased the tobacco age limit from 18 to 21. To this effect, Minnesota’s legislators are hoping that implementing the same law statewide should clear up confusion among retailers, said Laura Smith, senior public affairs manager with ClearWay Minnesota, a nonprofit working to reduce tobacco use. The tobacco 21 law was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Tim Walz last May, making Minnesota consistent with federal and local tobacco laws.
Sen. Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, who has long been advocating for the age limit increase, said that the main goal of the new legislation is to prevent teen vaping and subsequent nicotine addiction. Research has in fact indicated that younger brains are more susceptible to addiction.
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