Wisconsin Bucks National Trend On E-Cigarettes

Nation Sees Sharp Drop In Teens Using E-Cigs While Wisconsin Experiences Increase

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Across the nation, the number of teens using e-cigarettes dropped dramatically last year. But in Wisconsin it was just the opposite.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that 11.3 percent of high schoolers used e-cigarettes in 2016, a sharp decline from previous years. Wisconsin went the other direction, seeing a rise to 13.3 percent.

Dona Wininsky is director of tobacco control and public policy for the American Lung Association in Wisconsin.

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“Now granted, we only have maybe about two year’s worth of really specific data on e-cigarettes, so its hard to say if that’s a trend, or a blip. But our high school usage rate is higher than the national average,” Wininsky said.

State data shows that while use of conventional cigarettes has been on the decline among both middle and high schoolers use of e-cigarettes has increased the last two years.

“I think there’s still a perception that e-cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes and so for some kids who never would have tried smoking cigarettes they get the idea this might be a safer alternative,” Wininsky said.

Wininsky also points to the appeal of candy and fruit flavors used in e-cigarettes.

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