MILWAUKEE – The Centers for Disease Control publishing a release last week stating that current use of at least one tobacco product among high schoolers decreased about 4%, while current use of tobacco products among middle schoolers increased from 1-2% from 2022-2023.
Michelle Mercure is the National Director for Tobacco Programs at the American Lung Association. Mercure says she’s happy to see a decrease among high school students, but states youth usage of electronic cigarettes is still a problem that needs to be addressed.
“Over the past couple of decades we’ve seen tobacco usage decline significantly,” said Mercure. “But now we’re seeing this increase in use of e-cigarettes who otherwise would’ve never touched a cigarette.”
Mercure was not able to pin down why there is a difference in the rates of tobacco product use between minors in middle school as opposed to those in high school, but she did have a guess as to why they start using e-cigarettes in the first place.
“They’re seeing these and viewing them as harmless, and seeing influencers online pretending as though they are harmless,” explained Mercure. “And so I think they are influenced by that.”
Mercure was adamant that tobacco usage is one of the most pressing health concerns for youth. She advised parents to be on the lookout for items that look like pens or flash-drives, be watchful if their child is not focusing as well as usual, and stay vigilant for sweet smells that are not typical in their house.
TOP HEADLINES FROM THE 620 WTMJ NEWS TEAM:
- Wisconsin Veterans Day Parade provides opportunity for ‘pride’
- Armed individual shot and killed by Ozaukee County deputy in Graft
- Milwaukee Fire Department responds to seventh fire at Northridge Mall in the last 15 months
- What’s On Tap: Sandy’s back! Strawberry Fields, a unique Green Bay retreat & a run for a cause