RICHMOND, Va. (WVEC) — Virginia teen cigarette smoking is at an all-time low of 6.5 percent, according to the results of the 2017 Virginia Youth Survey.
The Virginia Department of Health conducted the study and the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth supported the study. Nationally, an estimated 7.6 percent of high school students are current cigarette smokers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, the survey results showed that 5 percent of Virginia high school students drink alcohol, 2 percent are current marijuana users, and at least 11.8 percent are current e-cigarette users.
Nationally, about one out of five U.S. teens, or 19.8 percent, reported using marijuana in 2017, according to the CDC’s national Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System survey. Research shows that both marijuana and nicotine have adverse effects on developing adolescent brains.
“We are equally encouraged by the decline in youth tobacco and e-cigarette use in the Commonwealth,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver. “An integral part of the Virginia Plan for Well-Being is to reduce premature death, disease, and disability related to tobacco use among young people by preventing tobacco use and promoting quitting. This survey underscores the importance of collaboration and community engagement in assuring healthier behaviors in our youth and adults.”
According to the Virginia Department of Health, it's unclear whether the 11.8 percent of Virginia High school students who report using e-cigarettes in 2017 included Juul users.
More than 2 million U.S. middle school and high school students were current e-cigarette users in 2017, according to the CDC, and for the fourth year in a row, the devices were the most commonly used nicotine-delivery products among teens.
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