Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-operated devices that contain a mixture of liquid nicotine and other chemicals. The device heats this mixture, called e-juice, producing a nicotine aerosol that is inhaled. E-cigarettes are also called e-hookahs, e-pipes, vape pens, hookah pens or personal vaporizers.

The 2017 Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey showed the youth tobacco usage rate has increased for the first time since 2000, when the survey first began. This is due, in large part, to the increase in the use of e-cigarettes. One in five youth (19.2 percent) currently use e-cigarettes, according to the survey. That is a 49 percent increase since the survey in 2014.

Youth Tobacco Usage & COVID-19: The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things in the past few months. Research has shown tobacco use can affect COVID-19 outcomes. In 2020 ANSR worked with youth advocates in Ramsey County to conduct a pair of convenience survey of youth in the Twin Cities Metro. The youth assembled and disseminated the survey questions, putting together a survey early during the Stay at Home orders and then again in late summer. Here are the results of the first survey, and here are the results of the most recent survey.

Youth Vaping Survey Toolkit: ANSR created a toolkit, based on the above surveys, outlining youth engagement and survey implementation. This toolkit also includes sample questions to ask, as well as a step-by-step guide on how to create your own survey, and engage youth in collecting data.

Download Toolkit

The rise of market leader JUUL, pictured at left, has spurred a massive increase in e-cigarette use among youth.

It has sparked its own terminology, as using it is called “JUULing.” The JUUL pods are in youth-friendly flavors and provide a doubled dose of nicotine than typical e-cigarettes. This is dangerous, as nicotine is harmful to developing adolescent brains. Nicotine interferes with brain development and can have a long-term effect on mental health. Even brief or intermittent nicotine exposure during adolescence can cause lasting damage. E-cigarette use by youth and young adults increases their risk of using conventional cigarettes in the future.

Some schools have gone as far as banning USB drives as it’s too difficult for teachers to discern between the devices. Additionally, there are many products available online made just for deception to allow youth to hide their usage. There are vape hoodies and devices built into working watches, as well as made to look like lipstick.

With that in mind, ANSR has put together a guide to help schools address tobacco use, including the use of electronic cigarettes, on school property. The guide also include tools and resources to adopt and implement a tobacco-free policy.

Download The Guide

Minnesota law prohibits e-cigarette use in public schools, hospitals, clinics and government-owned buildings, including city and county buildings. It also includes licensed daycare facilities during hours of operations. Minnesota law requires e-cigarette liquids and systems to be sold in child-resistant packaging. E-cigarettes can no longer be sold from movable places of business, such as mall kiosks or community events, or in self-service displays. Retailers are required to obtain a tobacco license before selling these products and ensure these products are only sold to those who are 21 years of age or older.

E-cigarettes come in a variety of flavors, such as gummy bear, fruit punch, yogi bear kryptonite, cherry crush and piña colada.

It’s easy for youth to hide e-cigarettes among everyday school products they carry in their backpacks. Since the rise of JUUL, other look-alike products that come in a multitude of flavors have hit the market. Brands like Puff Bar, Stig, Blow and Mojo entice youth with a wide variety of flavors. These disposable style vapes are not regulated by the Federal Government. Download our E-Cig Factsheets to learn more. You can also download an image of how easy vapes are to hide in a backpack or on their desk as they are doing school from home during COVID-19 restrictions.

Download E-cig Factsheet
Download Vaping & Mental Health Factsheet
Download Vaping & Mental Health Factsheet - Spanish
Download E-cig Factsheet References
Download Backpack Image
Download Desk Image