Report: Youth cigarette use in Chicago reaches new low, vaping use on the rise
Chicago has hit a record low in its rate of cigarette use by youths, though its youth vaping rate continues to rise, according to a report
released Monday by the city’s Department of Public Health.
The city had a youth cigarette smoking rate of 3.9 percent last year, compared to a 4.7 percent rate at the state level and 6 percent at the national level.
“Our city has long been a leader in the fight to end tobacco addition thanks to its tough policies,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement. “But a lot more must be done to protect our youth from the tobacco industry and to promote initiatives pushing for greater health equity.”
Cigarette use by Black youths has risen by 32 percent over the past two years, the only demographic to see an increase, according to the report.
The youth vaping rate was up to 12.4 percent, an 88 percent increase over the last two years. The city still trails the state rate of 19.9 percent and the national rate of 32.7 percent.
If combustible and vapor products are combined, 16.6 percent of high school students in Chicago use some form of tobacco, a 12 percent increase over the past two years.
The vaping rate has quadrupled among Black youths over the past two years, the highest increase across racial and ethnic groups.
“The fact that Chicago’s rates are lower than the state and nation is a testament to the tough policies we have in place,” said Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. “Yet the growing vaping epidemic is unacceptable, as are the increasing inequities in tobacco use. To advance health and equity, we must keep going.”
The report comes less than a week after the Chicago City Council approved
a plan to ban the sale of flavored vaping products. It does not affect the sale of flavored tobacco such as menthol cigarettes.
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