Utah Adult E-Cigarette Usage Doubles in 2013
(Salt Lake City, UT) – New data released Thursday from the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) point to a huge increase in the use of electronic cigarettes. The Tobacco Prevention and Control Program’s (TPCP) annual Legislative Report reveals that in 2013, 4.8 percent of Utahns reported a current use of e-cigarettes: more than doubling the 1.9 percent reported in 2012. In the same time frame, adult cigarette smoking remained unchanged at 10.2 percent.
“A great deal can be learned about e-cigarette use patterns from the new data,” said Adam Bramwell, TPCP Media Liaison. “Put simply, if the rate of e-cigarette use has increased more than two-fold in just one year, yet the rate of cigarette smoking hasn’t changed, we have a problem.”
The report contains other data points related to e-cigarette use among Utah adults. According to a recent survey, 60 percent of Utah adults who use e-cigarettes also smoke regular cigarettes. Additionally, nearly 15 percent of current e-cigarette users had never tried conventional cigarettes before picking up an e-cigarette. Bramwell adds, “The industry is, in essence, addicting a new generation of users to nicotine delivered via a system it touts as a safe alternative to tobacco.”
Utah’s TPCP is a partnership between the state health department and Utah’s 12 local health departments. UDOH Executive Director Dr. David Patton re-emphasized the official position of Utah’s public health departments on e-cigarettes. “At the present time, no one knows the long-term effects of these products.” Patton continued, “However, as these new data show, many Utahns are sustaining their nicotine addiction with daily use of both cigarettes and e-cigarettes. And as has been known for decades, the health risks of tobacco use are great, so anything that is furthering that addiction is guilty by association.”
The UDOH report also underscores previously released data concerning teen e-cigarette usage in Utah. Between 2011 and 2013, teen use of e-cigarettes tripled. Currently, nearly 6 percent of Utah students in grades 8, 10, and 12 are illegally using e-cigarettes. Of those using, nearly one-third said they had never tried a tobacco cigarette. The youth use rate of conventional cigarettes is reported at 3.9 percent.
The Utah Department of Health encourages Utahns currently using tobacco and other nicotine devices to consider the long-term damage to their health, including emphysema, lung, mouth and other cancers, and tooth loss. Information on how to quit and free cessation services can be found at the state’s newest resource, www.waytoquit.org.
To view e-cigarette data specific to your area in the TPCP 2014 Legislative Report, please visit: http://www.tobaccofreeutah.org/pdfs/tpcpfy14report.pdf.
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