Health officials: Data shows “alarming” rise in youth vaping

Vaping materials are displayed at the inaugural meeting of the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Vaping October 30, 2019. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Health officials say new data shows an “alarming” rise in vaping by Rhode Island high school students.

The Rhode Island Department of Health said Thursday that 10.2% of high school students now report frequent use of vaping products, compared to 3.7% in 2017. Frequent use means using vaping products on 20 or more days in the month prior to taking the survey.

The department’s 2019 risk behavior survey also found 30.1% of high school students reported vaping at least once in the last 30 days, compared to 20.1% in 2017.

Overall, 48.9% of high school students and 16.4% of middle school students reported trying vaping in 2019.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo says the numbers are a “wake-up call.” She signed an executive order banning flavored vaping products in September.