Santa Rosa Health Department targets youth vaping epidemic

Posted on August 20, 2019 by Staff reports

The federal government declared youth vaping, or e-cigarette use, a
nationwide epidemic.

In light of these concerns and the misinformation surrounding this topic, the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida and Santa Rosa County Health Department are helping educate parents, educators, pediatricians and partners on what they need to know about vaping and youth through the E-Epidemic: Vaping and Youth initiative.

The most popular e-cigarette brand is JUUL, a device shaped like a USB drive that is available in a variety of flavors and easy to conceal. In fact, youth are using JUUL devices inside school bathrooms and classrooms.

Here are the facts:

  • Youth vaping has increased dramatically across the country and in Florida. In 2018, about 25% of Florida high school students reported current use of electronic vaping – a 58% increase compared to 2017.
  • In Santa Rosa County, 17.4% of high school students reported current use of electronic vaping in 2018.
  • Youth are vaping at much higher rates compared to adults. One in four Florida high school students are vaping. Only about 4% of Florida adults are vaping.
  • The long-term health effects of e-cigarettes are still unknown. E-cigarette devices heat a liquid – usually containing nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals – and produce an aerosol. This aerosol, aka “vapor,” is NOT water. Some of the ingredients in e-cigarette aerosol could also be harmful to the lungs in the long-term, according to the CDC. For example, some e-cigarette flavorings may be safe to eat but not to inhale because the gut can process more substances than the lungs.
  • E-cigarettes, including JUUL, typically contain nicotine, which is highly addictive.
  • Youth may be more sensitive to nicotine and feel dependent on nicotine sooner compared to adults.
  • According to the manufacturer, a single JUUL pod (the “liquid” refill)
    contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes.
  • JUUL uses nicotine salts, which can allow high levels of nicotine to be inhaled more easily and with less irritation.
  • The brain continues to develop until the early to mid-20s and the developing brain is more vulnerable to the negative effects of nicotine. The effects include reduced impulse control, deficits in attention and cognition, and mood disorders. Using nicotine in adolescence may also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs.
  • Evidence suggests that youth who use e-cigarettes may be at greater risk of starting to smoke regular cigarettes. 

“The increasing number of youth vaping both locally and nationally is an alarming trend.” said Kristie Beckstrom, Health Education Program Manager and SWAT Coordinator. “We are committed to addressing this locally and we want parents and educators in our communities to know that Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way program provides cessation services to people of any age, including youth, by phone, web, and text.” For more information, visit

Parents and educators should advise youth of the dangers of nicotine; discourage youth tobacco use in any form, including e-cigarettes; and set a positive example by being tobacco free themselves. Tobacco Free Florida is taking steps to educate Floridians about this troubling epidemic through social media campaigns and an educational blog post, which can be found at