TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Tobacco use among the youth is rising again, after decreasing in previous years. Health officials said this is in part of vaping and e-cigarettes.
"It's a concern. Tobacco is not a good thing, it's habit forming and it's not an advantage to your health," said Sheri Mitchell, a parent.
The CDC said there were 1.5 million more current youth e-cigarette users in 2018 than in 2017.
"What we're actually seeing is an increase of tobacco use among the youth even if there was a decline in the last year and that's partly due to e-cigarettes being a gateway to potential use of cigarettes," said Cody Orchard, the health education specialist with South Central Public Health District.
The report said the use of any tobacco products grew by 38 percent among high school students in 2017 to 2018.
Orchard said this could be in part of vaping and e-cigarettes.
"Even some vape liquids could potentially be hard to get, and cigarettes are easily accessible to some teens that they might have an easier chance if they are having nicotine cravings," he said.
While Mitchell's kid were growing up, she said she educated them on the harms of tobacco use.
"I showed them lots of pictures of what it can do," Mitchell said.
Orchard said that e-cigarettes and vaping devices use a different type of nicotine.
"Which is a nicotine salt, which has a higher amount of nicotine in them, which makes the addiction stronger and actually has a higher stronger hit of nicotine," he said.
While this could become more addicting to the youth, it's also more harmful to their health.
Orchard said there are about 7,000 different types of flavors of vapes, and they all contain different kinds of chemicals.
"Diacetyl, for example, has that been known to cause popcorn lung or holes in lungs has been found in the flavors in the chemicals," Orchard said. "Then, also what we’re seeing now is not only propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, bad for your health, but mixing them together and heating them up causes formaldehyde which is a cancer causing substance."
Mitchell's message to those kids who do use tobacco:
"There's always a lot of things kids want to do. They want to feel like they're grown up, but it's not a good thing. It is not a good thing and it is habit forming and it is horrible on your health," she said.
Orchard said the health district offers free classes to parents, teachers and students at local junior high and high schools. Contact Cody Orchard at 208-737-5968 for more information.