Survey: Most NJ Adults are Aware of Vaping Dangers,  Don’t Want Youngsters to Start

TRENTON - Two-thirds of adults still think vaping is a safe activity for them to be involved with — despite being aware of the health risks — but that sentiment changes when it comes to their children, according to a recent Department of Health poll.

According to a release, nearly 90% of respondents are aware of the potential health dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes. 

63% of respondents smoke, whether it be traditional cigarettes or vapes/e-cigarettes, and 60% of respondents responded that vaping/e-cigarettes are safe for adults.

Some 84% of parents polled said they had discussed the dangers with their children, but acknowledged that one in 10 of their children vape or use e-cigarettes anyway.

“The results demonstrate that we must work even harder to reinforce the message that e-cigarettes and illegal THC vaping products pose a threat to public health and can lead to addiction,” stated New Jersey Department of Health Acting Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “The responses to the poll are troubling to us, as health professionals, in that parents’ more permissive and supporting views on vaping can present a troubling hypocrisy to their children, and all children by extension.”

Severe lung illnesses associated with vaping/e-cigarettes have killed 39 people in 24 states and hospitalized more than 2,000 others across 49 states, Washington and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In New Jersey, there are 66 confirmed and probable cases, including one death. The median age of the New Jersey cases is 21.

Vaping has more than doubled since 2017 among eighth, 10th, and 12th graders, according to a study released earlier this month by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. 

More than 3.6 million youth used e-cigarettes in 2018, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, a 78 percent increase from the previous year among high school students and a 48 percent increase in use among middle schoolers.

According to a nationwide CDC/FDA ongoing investigation, illicit THC-containing products purchased on the street play a major role in the outbreak. 

The poll also demonstrated that 90% of respondents agreed that vape cartridges purchased from other countries or on the street are unregulated and may contain unknown or dangerous substances. 90% also agreed that vape cartridges can contain substances with significant and dangerous health effects.

The 10-question poll of 725 adults was conducted via the Internet, on Facebook and NJ.com, from Oct. 1-17.

In terms of governmental regulation, a surprising 65% do not support government regulation on vapes and e-cigarettes, with 24% supporting government regulation. 

The department funded a variety of nonprofit groups and hospitals this year with $7 million for cessation and education efforts — including New Jersey Quitline and $1.9 million for Qquitcenters — including youth education and public awareness campaigns.  

VapeFactsNJ.com includes CDC fact sheets, infographics, and other resources for parents, educators, and health care professionals. 

The site also includes a numerical breakdown of the state’s case count, updated each Tuesday.

A youth-oriented vaping information site, Incorruptible.US highlights the role of Big Tobacco in the promotion of vaping products to teenaged consumers. 

The poll’s other findings included that 63% of respondents who smoke, the great majority, 96% of them use vapes/e-cigarettes. Additionally, most respondents felt they know that their children do not smoke or utilize vapes/e-cigarettes.

In a separate Facebook poll with 600 respondents, nearly 97% said they oppose local regulation, including an outright ban on vaping in their hometown.

Persichilli stated young people use vaping products “because they mistakenly believe they are harmless.” “Nearly half of young people who have used electronic smoking devices tried them because of appealing flavors. These flavors are deliberately marketed to attract young people. Electronic cigarettes contain various chemical substances known to be toxic,” the commissioner stated.

Earlier this month, the Electronic Smoking device task force chaired by Persichilli recommended the governor and Legislature consider:

1. Banning flavored electronic smoking devices and products

2. Increasing penalties for unauthorized sales

3. Restricting online sales

4. Increasing compliance buys

5. Prohibiting advertising and sale of covert products

6. Strengthening point of sale practices

7. Ensuring uniform regulation of the marketplace

8. Developing a centralized State retail registry

 

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