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Kentucky teen e-cigarette usage up amid COVID-19 pandemic, survey finds

The survey conducted by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, says that many factors contributed to this including increased stress and social environments.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — According to a release from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, a recent survey conducted shows the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in increased use of vaping products by Kentucky middle and high schoolers. 

The survey had a total of 400 middle and high school students from 22 Kentucky counties respond to the survey in November and December 2020.

More than half of youth, 39.2%, who expressed an opinion about how pandemic impacted their peers said they believed that it increased tobacco use, the group says. 

The foundation says that several factors could contribute to this, including increased stress, changing use due to not being in-person for school and different social environments that could lead to getting tobacco products from family members. 

RELATED: FOCUS: Are kids vaping more during the pandemic?

Additionally, 14% of the respondents said they believe e-cigarettes are safer than smoking traditional cigarettes.

"The perspectives of these Kentucky pre-teens and teens show us that we, as a society, still have much work to do to help protect our youth from e-cigarettes and other tobacco products that can cause them so much harm, both immediately and throughout the rest of their lives," president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, Ben Chandler said.

Respondents overwhelmingly supported giving local cities and counties the option to pass laws that reduce tobacco use, often referred to as local tobacco control, the survey found. In accordance with these questions, more than 70% of respondents agreed with localized regulated tobacco control. 

At this time, there are currently two bills in the Kentucky legislature aimed at stricter requirements for the sale and distribution of tobacco and vaping products. 

You can read each respectively bill by clicking here: Senate Bill 81 and House Bill 147.  

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