Youth Tobacco Use in Boulder County
Although smoking has been on the decline for young people over the last decade, there are still those who smoke and use other tobacco products. Additionally, the number of young people who have started vaping has skyrocketed, which is contributing to more young people being addicted to nicotine. Healthy Kids Colorado Survey data shows us that 7% of high schoolers are currently using cigarettes, and 5% report current use of other tobacco products in Boulder County (excluding vape devices).
Additionally, the popularity and culture around vaping, as well as industry marketing tactics that target youth, has increased the number of young people who are using products that contain nicotine. The rate of youth vaping in Colorado and Boulder County remains high. The latest data available is from 2019 and shows that 27.7% of youth are current users, and 46% of youth have ever tried vaping devices.
Learn more about vaping devices and their health effects.
While most of the focus lately has been on youth vaping, it is important to remember young people who are using more traditional tobacco products, and what new and emerging products may be attractive to young people. Little cigars, snuff, and chew still come in a variety of flavors, and can be purchased at a very low cost. The tobacco industry is constantly thinking of new products and ideas, and it is important to be aware of what new products are entering the market.
Certain People are More Impacted by Tobacco
Rate of tobacco use is higher among certain groups of young people. Youth of color, individuals who identify as LGBTQ+, those with low socioeconomic status, and those facing mental health struggles are more likely to use tobacco products. One reason for this disparity is the intentional targeting of these populations by tobacco industry marketing. Understanding these health disparities and how this impacts certain groups and individuals is important when considering how to support those who want to quit, or addressing this on a larger level.
Talking to the Young People in your Life
Talking to the young people in your life about tobacco use can be difficult, but research shows that having these tough conversations can make a difference in their choices to use substances. Connecting with the young people in your life to discuss these topics, whether you’re a family member, teacher, coach, or anyone else with a meaningful relationship with a young person, can influence their decision to make a healthier choice. The following resources are for those who have young people in their lives and address talking to them about this difficult topic.
Helping Youth Quit
We are seeing a new generation of young people who are addicted to nicotine, and youth will need support and help to quit when they are ready. Supporting youth on their journey towards quitting is important, as well as setting them up with the necessary tools to be successful.
Learn about resources that are catered to help young people quit.
Tobacco Free Schools
Young people spend much of their time in school and on school grounds, so it is important for school administrators and staff to be knowledgeable about tobacco products, and the laws and regulation around them. The following toolkit was created by Boulder County Public Health and the Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership program as a resource for school staff. Information in this toolkit includes:
- Information on tobacco products, including vaping devices
- Health effects
- Data on youth use
- Tobacco free schools law
- Enforcement strategies
- Safe disposal of vaping devices
- Lesson plans for teachers
- Quit resources
This toolkit was designed to be helpful for all school staff, including administrators, teachers, coaches, nurses, and counselors. See a web-based version of this toolkit on our Tobacco Free Schools page.
Regulations for tobacco and vaping devices are changing rapidly, especially when it comes to youth access to these products. There are several federal, state, and local regulations that apply to e-cigarettes and all tobacco products.
Learn more on our policy tab.