An Article by Bruce Barcelo
Happy New Year! There is nothing I would rather do than submit an article this month to 2023 brimming with optimism regarding youth vaping. National survey numbers told us that youth vaping went down in 2021 but when youth returned to classrooms in the fall of 2021 the conversations, I was having with school administrators from around the country certainly didn’t reflect that. Florida data recently released shows that vaping/tobacco incidents almost doubled in this past school year.
If we look at the sales numbers of e-cigarettes, we might better understand the youth epidemic. Zero percent of disposable e-cigarettes had the highest level of nicotine in 2017, today 90% have the highest level of nicotine. Nearly half of the high school students who vape do so daily. A number that doesn’t make any sense, the prices for vaping products with nicotine strengths that had a low nicotine level (1-2%), increased in prices ($10.40-$29.20). Products with high nicotine levels (4-5%) dropped ($12.80-$10.10). Why this is so concerning is that youth are price sensitive. The market moved to higher nicotine-level products with a cheaper cost for one reason.
So where do we turn for our New Year’s inspiration? Let us turn to the remarkable citizens of Ohio, who when it looked like Big Tobacco had used all its massive weight to sway politicians to potentially dismantle not only the Columbus flavor ban, but tobacco prevention efforts made around the state, it was you who called and wrote the governor to ask him to veto this effort. Today, Ohio is stronger because we stood together and weathered this storm. It is now a new year and together, we will battle because our youth need our support.