Publish date:

Teen vaping use in Minnesota as risen 'sharply,' study finds

There's been a significant increase in 8th and 11th graders vaping.

Concerns about the health impacting of vaping grew in Minnesota on Wednesday when a statewide survey revealed a "sharp" rise in e-cigarette use by teenagers.

The Minnesota Department of Health released the results of its 2019 Minnesota Student Survey, which revealed one in four 11th graders reported using an e-cigarette in the past month.

That's a significant increase of 54 percent compared to the 2016 survey, when just 17 percent reported vaping.

What's more, there was an even bigger rise in vaping use by 8th graders, with 11 percent admitting to e-cig use in the past month, compared to 5.7 percent in 2016.

Teen vaping

The report comes at a time when the federal government is taking steps to ban flavored e-cigarettes, and after multiple deaths and hundreds of illnesses have been reported across the country relating to lung damage caused by vaping.

While the exact cause of the illnesses hasn't been determined, the Centers for Disease Control found that e-cigarettes containing THC, a chemical found in marijuana, were being used in 77 percent of confirmed cases.

In response to the survey results, Governor Tim Walz has called for an "aggressive, multi-faceted campaign focused on youth education, outreach and tightening limits for accessing vaping products."

"Vaping is a public health crisis for young Minnesotans, and it is critical that we act now to bring the rate down," said Walz. "As a teacher and as a father, I know the first step is making sure our young people understand the risks.

"That’s why I’ve directed our health and education commissioners to work together to get the word out to students, parents and school officials this month while also putting forward bold legislative policies to tackle this crisis head on."

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

The education outreach is required, the Walz administration says, after the survey found that 76 percent of 11th graders said that e-cigs posed either no, slight or a moderate risk to their health.

As well as reaching out to schools, parents and healthcare providers across the state, Walz has directed his administration to propose a set of "bold 2020 policy options" to combat youth vaping.

This could include raising the statewide legal age for tobacco to 21, banning the sale of tobacco products, e-cigs and vaping products, banning the sale of flavored nicotine or tobacco products, and providing authority for the Department of Health to call a public health emergency in "critical situations."

Next Up

Nurses on strike

Nurses start 3-day strike at Allina WestHealth in Plymouth

A "last attempt" at negotiations failed to produce an agreement last Wednesday.

boating minnesota lake

Minnesota has experienced its deadliest boating season since 2005

Minnesota has seen 17 boating-related deaths so far this year.

Drew Doughty

Kirill Kaprizov makes Kings’ Doughty eat his words

The Kings defenseman isn't a fan of the Wild star's new deal.

Quinn Olson / UMD Hockey

Watch: UMD's Olson goes between-the-legs to set up highlight goal

Another Saturday. Another highlight for a Minnesota college hockey team.

Gopher Hockey

Watch: No-call lifts Gophers to OT victory over St. Cloud State

A blatant hook marred a top-four battle in St. Cloud.

Ambulance hospital emergency

Driver killed after crashing into parked semi-trailer

The crash occurred on the 5800 block of University Avenue Northeast.

Mike Zimmer

Vikings-Panthers: 5 things you can count on happening

The Vikings will look to open things up in Carolina.

Tanner Morgan/Gopher Football

Morgan's resurgence, Nebraska's miscues help Gophers hold on

The Gophers quarterback threw a pair of touchdowns in a 30-23 victory.


'Severe lung injuries' linked to vaping found in Minnesota teens

Similar reports have been received in Wisconsin as well.


Minnesota teens are still vaping at a 'very high rate'

The majority of youth e-cig users report signs of nicotine dependence, MDH says.


Minnesota to sue e-cig maker JUUL, accusing it of 'preying' upon students

AG Keith Ellison and Gov. Tim Walz announced the lawsuit on Wednesday.

2 more deaths in Minnesota from lung injuries linked to vaping

There are 73 people in Minnesota suffering severe lung injury from vaping.


Severe lung injury linked to additive in e-cigarettes, vaping products

The patients experienced symptoms that were similar to COVID-19.


More cases of vaping-linked severe lung injuries reported in Minnesota

Health officials say there have been a further 11 suspected cases.


Health department reports first vaping-injury death in MN

The person who died suffered a serious lung injury.

Study reveals shock finding: 5,000 MN teens have been paid for sex

The study is based on a survey of 9th to 11th graders.