Hooked on Vaping: Almost half of Arizona kids have vaped by 12th grade

Oct 15, 2019, 4:15 AM | Updated: Oct 17, 2019, 5:52 pm

PHOENIX – Almost half of Arizona’s students have vaped by the time they reach 12th grade, according to a statewide survey that shows the rapid rise of e-cigarette use in junior high and high school.

The Arizona Youth Survey is administered every two years by the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission. It asks eighth, 10th and 12th graders questions about substance use.

The most recent survey released last year found that 27.7% of eighth graders reported they’ve used e-cigarettes or other vaping devices on one or more occasion. That figure was 39.3% for 10th graders and 45.8% for high school seniors.

Each of those grade levels saw an increase of about 10 percentage points from 2016, the first year the survey included a vaping question.

“If trends continue like they have nationally, when we give the survey again in 2020, we would expect it to continue to rise,” said Dustin Pardini, the survey’s primary administrator and an associate professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University.

Pardini said e-cigarettes and other vaping devices are gaining popularity among young people mainly because of the flavors and the fact they’re “much easier” to use than combustible cigarettes.

“It doesn’t involve as much learning how to inhale,” he said. “It’s not as harsh to learn the whole process.”

The next survey, which is set to be released next year, will have additional questions about vaping, including where teens are getting vaping supplies.

It’s already known that teens have been able to get the products at convenience stores and smoke shops despite a state ban on sales to anybody under 18 years old.

The Arizona Attorney General’s Tobacco Enforcement Unit is seeing more retailers across Arizona illegally selling tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to undercover minors. They’re part of a program called Operation Counter Strike.

“We work with undercover youth between the ages of 14 and 17 all across the state of Arizona,” said Erika Mansur, an attorney with the unit. “The goal of the program is to make sure that retailers are complying with the statewide prohibition on the sale of tobacco products to minors.”

Over the last few years, there was a decline of stores selling tobacco products to minors. The rate dropped to under 10% last summer. It was up to 14% as of last week, according to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.

“Unfortunately, the e-cigarette products have really caused all these numbers to go up,” Mansur said. “In the last year is when we’ve seen the biggest spike.”

She added the uptick comes after decades of progress in getting youth to stop smoking cigarettes.

The Arizona Youth Survey echoes that sentiment, showing a steady decline in cigarette smoking among students. In 2014, 35.8% of 12th graders had smoked at least once. That had dropped to 24.1% by 2018.

“While we’ve been very good at getting rid of cigarettes as a problem or starting to reduce it significantly, we’re seeing this dramatic rise of this thing (vaping) that nobody, I don’t think, expected to happen,” Pardini, the survey’s administrator said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Musical Instrument Museum/Facebook Photo)...

Phoenix’s Musical Instrument Museum hosts programs for youth and adults

KTAR's community spotlight this month focuses on Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum and the classes it offers for youths and adults.
11 hours ago
A Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination center in Casablanca, Morocco, Monday, Oct. ...

In report covering 3 days, Arizona adds 5,660 COVID-19 cases, 174 deaths

In a report covering three days’ worth of data, Arizona health officials on Tuesday added 5,660 cases and 174 deaths to the state’s COVID-19 totals.
11 hours ago
(AP Photo)...

1 man dead, teen in custody following Phoenix shooting

Police are investigating the death of a man who was shot in Phoenix Monday evening, authorities said.
11 hours ago
Three firefighters received medical treatment for minor injuries after battling a house fire on Oct...

3 firefighters injured, search for dog continues after Glendale house fire

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries after fighting a house fire in Glendale, authorities said Monday night.
11 hours ago
(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, file)...
Griselda Zetino

Arizona’s top health official stresses COVID vaccines are still the ‘best protecting device’

The death of Colin Powell is putting a spotlight on breakthrough COVID-19 cases, which Arizona’s top health official said are extremely rare and added the vaccine is still the most effective way to fight off the virus.
11 hours ago
Thomas Rhett, left, and Old Dominion, right (Getty Images Photos)...
Danny Shapiro

Thomas Rhett, Old Dominion to perform at Waste Management Phoenix Open’s 16th hole

There will be a different reason to cheer at the upcoming Waste Management Phoenix Open when two popular country music acts perform on the fairway of the famous 16th hole of the golf course.
11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Why fall maintenance is important for your heating system and A/C

It’s easy to ignore your heater and air conditioner when they’re working but the moment something breaks, you will likely regret not keeping up with maintenance. After all, if something goes wrong, you may be stuck with a repair that will take longer and be more expensive than simple maintenance.
PNC Bank

3 cool tips to turn everyday moments into learning experiences for your child

Early brain development has a crucial impact on a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school and life. Research has shown that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by age five.
Sweet James

Best fall road trips to take on a motorcycle

Autumn in Arizona brings the beauty of color-changing leaves and a relief from summer heat. It’s one of the most pleasant times to explore the outdoors, especially on a motorcycle.
Hooked on Vaping: Almost half of Arizona kids have vaped by 12th grade