AUGUSTA — Results from the 2019 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS) show an increase in the number of Maine high school students who report e-cigarette use, commonly referred to as “vaping.”
Survey results for 2019 show that 28.7 percent of Maine high school students report currently using e-cigarettes (at least one time in the past 30 days), an increase from 15.3 percent in 2017. Maine’s 2019 MIYHS high school results align with the most recent data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, which show that 27.5 percent of high school students throughout the United States report having used e-cigarettes within the past 30 days, an increase from 11.7 percent in 2017.
The number of Maine high school students who report ever having used an e-cigarette product increased from 33.2 percent in 2017 to 45 percent in 2019.
The survey also shows that the number of high school students who reported current use of conventional cigarettes dropped from 8.8 percent in 2017 to 7.1 percent in 2019.
“Notably, the 2019 responses show a decrease in the percentage of Maine students who smoke or use other forms of conventional tobacco products,” said Nirav D. Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC). “Young people in Maine are getting the message that tobacco use is dangerous. But they need to realize that vaping also poses great risks to their health.”
The survey is a collaboration between Maine CDC and the Maine Department of Education (DOE), conducted biennially since 2009. Its purpose is to identify emerging trends facing youth by quantifying the health and related behaviors and attitudes of 5th through 12th graders using direct student surveys tailored to each age group. All public middle and high schools in Maine are invited to participate in the survey, which is administered during the spring of odd-numbered years.
The survey results show that e-cigarette use is also up among Maine middle school students. Current use (at least one time in the past 30 days) among middle school students rose from 3.8 percent in 2017 to 7 percent in 2019. The number of middle school respondents who reported ever having used an e-cigarette product rose from 10.4 percent in 2017 to 16.3 percent in 2019.
The 2019 survey results also indicate that fewer Maine high school students report buying e-cigarettes from stores, decreasing from 7.2 percent in 2017 to 4.8 percent in 2019. Most students reported receiving e-cigarettes from other people or giving money to others to buy the products.
Under a law that took effect in 2018, most individuals in Maine must be at least 21 years old to purchase tobacco products – including e-cigarettes. A clause in the law allows individuals who had turned 18 as of July 1, 2018, to continue to buy tobacco products lawfully.
Maine CDC has worked with the Maine Office of the Attorney General to pursue increased compliance checks on e-cigarette purchases at retailers throughout Maine to prevent sales to youth. Maine already conducts these checks on both electronic and combustible cigarettes but has boosted the focus on e-cigarettes. Maine also already bans all online sales of e-cigarette products and licenses tobacco product sellers to ensure oversight.
The Maine CDC and Maine DOE have additionally promoted awareness of a September 2019 law that bans e-cigarette use on school property.
Maine CDC and Maine DOE continue to work with partners across the state to help prevent young people from initiating use of and exposure to e-cigarettes. A workgroup has met regularly to create educational resources and presentations to increase awareness.
For information on the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey:
For information on tobacco cessation programs:
- Maine CDC Tobacco and Substance Use Prevention and Control Program: (207) 287-4627 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Local technical assistance for schools: ctimaine.org/resources/local-prevention-partners/
- Maine CDC educational guide about e-cigarettes/vaping-type devices: preventionforme.org/resources/ends-toolkit/
- Additional resources: ctimaine.org/resources/ends-vaping/
- The Maine Tobacco Helpline at 1-800-207-1230 or thequitlink.com/
- The Truth Initiative offers free text message programs for youth and young adults who want to quit vaping or smoking and is a resource for parents looking to help their children.
Text Quit to 202-804-9884 to quit JUUL or e-cigs.
Text QUITNOW to 202-759-6436 to quit cigarettes.