Vaping habits are starting with some NJ children as young as 11, study finds

David Madden
November 01, 2019 - 1:23 pm
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WEST WINDSOR TOWNSHIP, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — A new study suggests New Jersey youths are exposed to e-cigarettes and begin to vape as early as their preteen years.

The New Jersey Hospital Association analyzed data from 71 acute care facilities across the state — including emergency rooms and hospital admissions — between January 2017 and this past August. The number of patients hospitalized who use e-cigarettes is steadily rising, according to the study.

In 2018, e-cigarette usage began to present with children as young as 12 or 13 years old,” researcher Sean Hopkins said. “In 2019, the presentation’s slightly earlier. Now we’re seeing 11- and 12-year-olds that are coming into hospitals for a variety of services, with the presence of e-cigarette usage in their record.”

E-cigarette usage seems to peak in the 18- to 24-year-old age group, despite the fact you have to be 21 to buy vaping products legally in New Jersey.

“Where they’re getting it? How they’re getting it? That’s a great question that ultimately needs to be investigated further,” Hopkins added.

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Initial reports found New Jersey hospitals are on track to see nearly 16,000 patients who use e-cigarettes in 2019 alone.

The study is being shared with decision-makers in Trenton, including a panel appointed by Gov. Phil Murphy, to look into lung injuries that are believed to be linked to vaping. So far this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 1,600 lung injury cases associated with vaping, including 34 deaths nationwide — one of which was in New Jersey.

“The only way we are going to understand the increased prevalence of vaping-related illness that is showing up in our hospitals is to understand who is using e-cigarettes and when they are introduced to these products,” Cathleen Bennett, president and CEO of NJHA, noted in a statement.