IDOH data shows youth tobacco use is down, but concerns linger
Youth tobacco use among Hoosiers is the lowest since 2012, according to data collected last year.
The Indiana Department of Health’s 2022 Youth Tobacco surveyrevealed that more than 1 in 10 high school students and 1 in 30 middle school students said they used tobacco in 2022.
Of those who use tobacco, e-cigarettes were the most frequently used form – with 9.2 percent of high schoolers and 2.2 percent of middle schoolers using these products.
There was a decline in the use of e-cigarettes, cigars and cigarettes over the last decade of surveys. About 23 percent of high school students in 2018 used tobacco as compared to 10.5 percent in 2022.
More than 8 percent of middle schoolers in 2018 used tobacco compared to 3.3 percent currently.
Additionally, among youth who currently use tobacco, the majority who use these products are interested in quitting: 74.6 percent of middle school students and 55.9 percent of high school students who are currently using have made at least one attempt to quit in the past year.
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Data also showed about 3 in 10 Hoosier high schoolers and middle schoolers were exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes and cars in one or more of the past seven days.
Despite these declines, some health officials say it is troubling that the majority of youth who use tobacco use flavored e-cigarettes – which they say can increase the appeal of these products.
Indiana’s youth tobacco use is also less than the national average – with a rate of 16.5 percent for youth nationwide using tobacco and 10.5 percent in Indiana.