New information from the Centers for Disease Control paints a troubling picture on how often young people use tobacco products.
According to the CDC, around 4.9 million students in middle and high school were a “current” user of tobacco, which means they used a tobacco product within the last 30 days.
The newest count is about a 36 percent increase from 2017, when the number was 3.6 million. E-cigarettes were the product of choice for more than 20 percent of high school students in 2018, followed by regular cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco.
Cynthia Mickelson is on the Sioux Falls school board as well as a mother; her sons are 19, 17, and 15 years old. Her reaction to the difference in tobacco use between 2017 and 2018 is one of disappointment.
“But maybe not too surprised because of the increase we’ve seen with the e-cigarettes and Juuls and et cetera, so I think we’re seeing that as a result of that,” Mickelson said.
Mickelson says it’s against the rules for kids in activities to use nicotine- nevermind if they’re over 18. When it comes to convincing kids that it’s not a good decision, she brings up what’s coming beyond maybe the immediate future.
“When you’re 80 years old, hopefully healthy, that’s because of how you treated your body when you’re younger,” Mickelson said. “Which also will decease hopefully your health care costs, other things that are all associated with that. So how do we put that in a marketing campaign.”
Kate Parker is also on the Sioux Falls school board.
“I don’t worry about it necessarily with my own kids, just because they don’t see their parents smoking, they don’t see family members smoking, so it’s not really a reality for their own inner circle,” Parker said. “But it’s still a concern.”
Parker has two boys- one who is almost 14, and another who is 11.
“My oldest is off to high school next year, so he’s going to be driving soon, so he’s going to be not so reliant on mom and dad to get him places, and to be hanging out with friends, and you just don’t know what that peer pressure might look like for him,” Parker said. “So I think about it.”