CDC: Number of youth smokers decrease in 2017
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a report saying that nationwide, the smoking percentage for youth has decreased.
"From 8 percent to 7.6 percent over the course of the year," said Cody Orchard, with South Central Public Health District. "In Idaho, we're still sitting at about 9.1 percent among teenagers in Idaho that said they smoked in the last 30 days."
He said they have decreased about 0.6 percent in the last year.
"But our e-cigarette use has actually gone up from 11 percent to about 14 percent in the last year," he said.
Orchard said overall, they're seeing about 44 percent of teenagers in Idaho that have tried an e-cigarette or vaped at least once.
"Tobacco use continues to drop among the youth because of the popularity of e-cigarettes, but it's still a concern because e-cigarettes have become so popular now," he said. "But we're starting to see teenagers that may be never exposed to nicotine now being exposed to nicotine through e-cigarettes. Their chances of actually smoking an actual cigarette are at a higher percentage if they start with an e-cigarette."
He said e-cigarettes are less dangerous than cigarettes, but they are still so new that they don't know the affects of them.
"We won't know about all the stats and data until people start to get sick from it, really is what it comes down to," he said.
Orchard said he offers cessation classes for all ages, including the youth.
"We're rallying, trying to educate parents and teachers and school resource officers as far as what to look out for and what education materials are out there for them," he said.