Healthy trends: Barton County sees decrease in youth tobacco use
Health trends are starting to go in the right direction in Barton County for youth regarding tobacco use.
According to data from the Kansas Communities that Care survey, the use of electronic cigarettes dropped over five percent from last year among students in 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th grade. The survey is performed yearly with the same classes polled with one of the questions presented to the students being “During the past 30 days, on how many days have you used e-cigarettes?”
Katelyn Sigler, Barton County Public Health Educator, says prevention and education classes have helped. "With presentations last year in the middle school, a lot of the kids believed the vape products were just water vapor," said Sigler. "None of the vape products that I know of, don't contain nicotine. While they were using these products, a lot of the kids were getting addicted to nicotine and not many knew that." Sigler added another huge help in reducing youth tobacco use over the year was the federal legislation passed in December 2019 that raised the minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. According to data in 2019, 15.92% of students surveyed in Barton County admitted to using e-cigarettes at least once within the last 30 days. In 2020, the percentage of e-cigarette use was down to 10.11%. The state average in 2020 was 9.77%.