Vaping Among Teens

Teen e-cigarette use, or vaping, has increased across race/ethnicity groups and regions.

In 2014 and 2016, 12% of King County teens in grades 8, 10, and 12 had used an e-cigarette at least once in the past month, and 1% had used e-cigarettes every day. E-cigarettes, also called vape pens, are battery operated devices used to inhale a vaporized liquid solution. Most vaping products used today include nicotine, often in very high doses. The younger nicotine use begins, the more likely a user is to become addicted, and nicotine use during adolescence may have long-lasting impacts on brain function. In addition to nicotine, these products contain potentially harmful flavorings and heavy metals. The long-term health effects of vaping are still unknown. 

Trends: Although rates of e-cigarette use were lower in 2016 than they were in 2014, overall they were over three times as high as they were in 2012, increasing from 3% to 10%. A similar trend was seen across regions and race and ethnicity groups.

Race and ethnicity: Teens of Asian descent (6%) were less likely to use e-cigarettes than King County average. American Indian/Alaska Native (18%) and Hispanic (16%) teens were more likely to vape than King County average.

Grade level: Vaping increased with grade level, from 6% among 8th graders to 18% among 12th graders.

Sexual orientation: Teens who identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual were more likely to use vapor products (17%) than King County average. 

You can also find data on teen cigarette smoking on Communities Count. In 2014 and 2016, about a third of those who used e-cigarettes had also smoked cigarettes. Overall, about 8% of teens had only used e-cigarettes in the past month, 2% had only used cigarettes, and 4% had used both cigarettes and e-cigarettes.

 

Notes & Sources

Source: Healthy Youth Survey. Unless otherwise noted, data are from 2014-2016.

Every 2 years, Washington public school students in 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grades students answer questions about safety and violence, physical activity and diet, alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, and related risk and protective factors. To learn more about the survey, please go to https://www.doh.wa.gov/DataandStatisticalReports/DataSystems/HealthyYouthSurvey.

Numerator: Students who answered more than “0 days” to the question: "During the past 30 days, on how many days did you: Use an electronic cigarette, also called e-cigs, or vape pens?”

Denominator: All students who answered the question.