DENVER – Colorado youth are vaping nicotine at twice the national average according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released results of the Colorado Healthy Kids Survey reporting Colorado ranked the highest for youth vaping out of 37 states surveyed across the United States.
According to the survey, only 7 percent of high school students currently smoke cigarettes, while 27 percent said they vape nicotine. The statewide school survey shows 87 percent of Colorado high school students think cigarette smoking is risky, but only 50 percent believe those risks apply to vaping nicotine.
The CDPHE said a separate, more comprehensive state survey shows about half of Colorado high school students have tried vaping nicotine, don’t see it as risky and think vaping products are easy to get, even though it is illegal to purchase them as minors.
"Nicotine is damaging to the developing brain, it can impact things like behavioral control, it can also lead to addiction,” said Alison Reidmohr, CDPHE Tobacco Communications Specialist.
The JUUL has become one of the most popular vaping devices on the market. Parent company JUUL Labs reached out to schools in Colorado offering prevention activities to stop underage use. JUUL Labs shared the following statement with Denver7:
"JUUL Labs is committed to combating underage use -- it's a top priority for the company. We cannot be more emphatic on this point: No young person or non-nicotine user should ever try JUUL. We want to work with lawmakers, FDA, parents, educators and community leaders to address underage use. Under the guidance of tobacco control experts and public officials led by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, we’ve committed $30 million to independent research, youth and parent education and prevention, and community engagement. We want to be part of the solution in helping to keep JUUL out of the hands of minors."
The CDPHE is actively working against these campaigns with other plans for getting their message across to Colorado teens.
"We wrote a letter to our school partners warning them about this and giving them better resources to help them combat this epidemic in schools,” said Reidmohr. “The tobacco industry has a long history of reaching out to schools and saying they will help make sure kids don’t start to smoke and then their curriculum doesn’t actually work.”