New data from Santa Clara County health officials show a startlingly high rate of vaping use among area teenagers. According to the information, more than 31 percent of teens reported ever trying e-cigarettes. 13 percent of those surveyed are current users.
“E-cigarettes and other vape products contain many chemicals – some known to the consumer, and some not – and we don’t fully know what the harms of these substances might be in the short and long term,” said Dr. Sara Cody, County of Santa Clara Health Officer and Director of the Public Health Department, in a press release.
One bright spot in the data was the continued decline of standard cigarette use among county teens, down to 1.4 percent — half of what it was three years ago.
While the county’s teen vaping rate is higher than the California average of 11 percent, it is well below the national average of 27 percent. More than 80 percent of Santa Clara County teens currently using tobacco reported using a flavored product.
Cody continued, “What we do know, however, is that e-cigarettes and other vape products containing nicotine are harmful to the developing brain, which includes the adolescent brain.”
Retailers are forbidden from selling tobacco products, including e-cigarettes to anyone under age 21. Tobacco is still a major cause of death in California and here in Santa Clara County. 1 in 8 deaths in the county are attributed to smoking and tobacco use kills nearly 40,000 statewide each year.
Reacting to the data, County Supervisor Susan Ellenberg said, “We can, and must, do better.”
To see the full survey results, click here.