Tobacco Prevention and Control

Survey shows Minnesota youth tobacco use rising for the first time in 17 years

Youth e-cigarette use up 50 percent since 2014

A new survey shows for the first time since 2000, overall youth tobacco use has increased in Minnesota, with 26.4 percent of high school students using some form of tobacco or nicotine, up from 24.6 percent in 2014.

Youth e-cigarette use is at its highest point ever recorded.

The rapid uptake of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices has quickly reversed a long-term trend of declining teen tobacco use in Minnesota, according to new results from the Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey. The new data show one in five high school students use e-cigarettes, a nearly 50 percent increase since the data were last collected in 2014. At the same time, youth cigarette smoking has reached an all-time low. Less than 10 percent of high school students now smoke cigarettes – a 70 percent drop since 2000.

E-cigarettes pose a serious health risk.

Nearly all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which can harm brain development as teens grow. No amount of nicotine is safe for youth. Adolescence is a critical window for brain growth and development, when the brain is still “under construction”; there could be negative implications for learning, memory, and attention. Evidence also suggests that nicotine primes the adolescent brain for addiction, increasing the risk of future addictions not only to tobacco, but other substances like illicit drugs.

Recent evidence also suggests that, compared to youth who have never used them, youth who have tried e-cigarettes are twice as likely to start smoking in the future.

Communities are taking action to reduce youth tobacco use.

Tobacco control has many highly effective, evidence-based strategies to prevent youth initiation and reduce youth access. Local communities are working to:

  • Increase the minimum sales age to 21.
  • Reduce youth access to e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.
  • Limit flavored and menthol tobacco sales.
  • Increase the minimum pack and price of cigars.
  • Increase compliance and enforcement efforts of youth access laws.

About the survey

The Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey (MYTS), conducted since 2000 by the Minnesota Department of Health, is a representative sample survey, which provides comprehensive, in depth information on the tobacco use of young people and to design and evaluate prevention efforts. The seventh MYTS was conducted in 2017 and included participation from 4,112 students from 70 public schools.

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Despite overall declines in adult cigarette use, some populations still smoke at higher rates, including people with behavioral health issues such as mental illness and substance use disorders. For people in substance abuse treatment, quitting can increase long-term abstinence from alcohol and other drugs.

Communities can take steps to reduce tobacco use among people with behavioral health issues.

  • Change norms around tobacco treatment for people with behavioral health issues.
  • Integrate tobacco screening and treatment referral.
  • Implement comprehensive tobacco-free grounds policies.
Learn more about Behavioral Health and Tobacco Use in Minnesota.

MDH released an updated health advisory on the health risks of nicotine youth and pregnant women. The advisory is based on a summary of the latest research on the health risks of nicotine, and reflect findings from the U.S. Surgeon General’s new report E-cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults. The advisory reports that nicotine exposure can harm brain development during adolescence and poses a serious health risk for youth.

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A campaign to raise the minimum legal sale age for tobacco products from 18 to 21 years known as Tobacco 21 is having a nationwide impact, with at least 200 localities in 14 states having already implemented a Tobacco 21 policy. A 2015 report from the Institute of Medicine estimated the effects of such policy on cigarette use at the national level; however, little is known about the expected effects for individual states.

This article estimates that raising the sale age to 21 in 2015 would prevent 3,355 young Minnesotans from starting to smoke. The purpose of this study was to consider the effect on smoking initiation in Minnesota if the minimum sale age were 21 in 2015.

Read full article in the January-February 2017 Issue of Minnesota Medicine

facts about smoke-free housingThe U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released their rule requiring all public housing agencies to have a smoke-free policy, in order to protect residents and staff from secondhand smoke, reduce fire risk and maintenance costs and provide cleaner and safer air for all residents.

These policies will create smoke-free spaces in living units, indoor common areas and public housing agency offices.

Read HUD's final rule.
Instituting Smoke-Free Public Housing

Smoke-free housing resources

Resources for quitting smoking

Updated Wednesday, August 15, 2018 at 03:07PM