Half of Illinois high schoolers reported using electronic tobacco products last year. A U.S. Centers For Disease Control survey found gains made by health advocates in recent years to curb e-cigarette usage among teens, but the usage by Illinois high schoolers is on par with the growing trend across the country.
The federal agency found roughly 1 in 5 Illinois high school students used electronic tobacco products at least one day during the 30-day period before responding to its survey. Nationwide, that number was approximately one third of high school students. Results also indicated that half of Illinois high school students surveyed did not attempt to quit using tobacco products last year.
Capitol News reports today says that despite increased funding for tobacco cessation and education programs in the state, electronic cigarettes are not included in a statewide ban of smoking at virtually all public places, taxes on the products are not “at parity” with traditional tobacco products and legislative proposals to ban flavored electronic products were not addressed by the General Assembly this session. The CDC recommends the state spend $136.7 million on related initiatives, but Illinois allocates just $9.1 million — 6.7 percent of the recommended level — according to an American Cancer Society report.
The CDC report was released less than two weeks after preliminary research conducted at Stanford University suggested those who sometimes use e-cigarettes are five times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19.
New legislation on banning flavored e-cigarette products are expected to be re-introduced in the Illinois General Assembly this January.