The results of a new study suggest the pandemic has led to an increase in vaping among children in Kentucky.
The survey was conducted by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Kentucky Youth Advocates. Out of the 400 middle and high schoolers who were surveyed in 22 counties, more than a third admitted to using e-cigs and tobacco products more during the pandemic.
More than half of the young participants who expressed an opinion about how the pandemic impacted their peers said they believed it was an increase in tobacco use.
When asked about the safety of e-cigarettes, 14% of those surveyed said they believe e-cigs are safer for them than smoking, even though those products can contain more concentrated amounts of nicotine.
"Public health measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 may have increased parental oversight and reduced vaping for some youth, but certainly not for all," said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. "The children of essential workers who haven't been able to stay home may well be the youth for whom vaping increased."
The survey also showed that 70% of these students said they were in favor of local tobacco control and education.
The Centers for Disease Control said people who use e-cigs as teens are much more likely to smoke cigarettes as adults.