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UDOH: Teen E-Cigarette Use Doubles in 2 Years

A Utah Department of Health study released Monday found Utah teens are using electronic cigarettes at nearly double the rate of two years ago. The annual legislative report also found the use of e-cigarettes by teens in Utah is more than double that of adults.Veronica Ford is a student at North Davis Junior High and a member of Students Working Against Tobacco. She says people are shocked to hear about the possible health risks that come with using e-cigarettes – a practice also called "vaping".

“Most of them are really shocked and their minds are just blown because these big tobacco companies are telling everyone that it’s just water vapor, it’s totally safe, and everything’s okay with it when that’s not necessarily true,” says Ford.

Brian Bennion is the head of the Weber-Morgan Health Department. He says legislation on e-cigarettes passed this year has helped raise awareness.

“There’s a lot of work to be done still because even though our rates have dropped a little bit, but we had the highest rates,” says Bennion, “we’re still 5% above the state average. But what was concerning the last 2 years is the state rate had come up to closer match ours.”

The study of students in grades 8, 10, and 12 found that 1 in 4 have tried e-cigarettes in the last 30-days. It also found most users got e-cigarettes from friends.  An almost equal amount got them illegally from a convenience store, supermarket, discount store, or gas station.

Bob Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in mass communications. He began his radio career at KUER in 1978 when it was still in Kingsbury Hall. That’s also where he met his wife, Maria Shilaos, in 1981. Bob left KUER for commercial radio where he worked for 25 years, and he is thrilled to be back at KUER. Bob and his family are part of an explorer group, fondly known as The Hordes and Masses, which has been seeking out ghost towns and little-known places in Utah for more than twenty years.
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