The 2022 Indiana Youth Tobacco Survey (IYTS), released Tuesday, shows that youth commercial tobacco use among Hoosiers is the lowest measured in the past two decades, and e-cigarette usage is the lowest since 2012. However, even though fewer youth are using tobacco products, the frequent use of e-cigarettes is higher than in previous years, the Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) reported.
The IYTS is a biennial survey that is representative of Indiana public school students and collects data from students in grades 6 to 12 regarding all types of tobacco use, exposure to secondhand smoke, access to tobacco products, knowledge and attitudes, media and advertising, school curriculum and tobacco cessation. More than 2,900 high school students and more than 2,500 middle school students participated in the 2022 survey.
Over 1 in 10 high school students (10.5 percent) and 1 in 30 middle school students (3.3 percent) in Indiana reported current tobacco product use in the 2022 survey. Of those who currently used tobacco, about one-fourth of middle school students (24.6 percent) and one-third of high school students (30.6 percent) reported using more than one tobacco product.
The majority of youth who used tobacco in the past 30 days – 64.7 percent of middle school youth and 74.5 percent of high school youth – reported using flavored tobacco products.
“We are pleased to see that overall tobacco use is lower among Indiana youth, which is the same pattern being observed nationally,” said State Health Commissioner Lindsay Weaver, M.D., FACEP. “But it is concerning that the majority of students who use tobacco reported using flavored tobacco, including menthol. We know that flavors increase the appeal of tobacco products to youth, promote youth initiation, and can contribute to lifelong tobacco use.”
E-cigarette rates were also lower than in previous years, with 9.2 percent of high schoolers and 2.2 percent of middle schoolers reporting current use. However, e-cigarettes were still the most commonly used tobacco product among Indiana youth in 2022. The rate of frequent e-cigarette use (20 or more of the past 30 days) was higher than in previous years and was 44 percent among high school students who currently used e-cigarettes. Additionally, among youth who have never used e-cigarettes, approximately 20 percent of middle school and high school youth were deemed susceptible to future tobacco product experimentation or use based on responses to specific survey questions. “Indiana has been vigilant about addressing youth tobacco use on many fronts, from schools and parents to local and state public health organizations,” said Miranda Spitznagle, director of Tobacco Prevention and Cessation at the Indiana Department of Health. “We hope these entities can continue working together to ensure all Hoosier youth have access to free services to help them quit and to all the same protections from commercial tobacco to make sure they never start.”
The IYTS found that Indiana youth who use tobacco and e-cigarette products are interested in quitting. Among youth who currently used tobacco, 74.6 percent of middle school students and 55.9 percent of high school students made at least one quit attempt in the past year. Similarly, among youth who currently used e-cigarettes, 66.7 percent of middle school students and 53.9 percent of high school students made a quit attempt.
Programs and free resources are available to Indiana parents and educators. Young Hoosiers who are interested in quitting e-cigarettes can text INDIANA to 873373. Parents, educators, and healthcare providers can visit in.gov/vapefreeindiana for more information and resources to help young people quit or never start using tobacco products.
For more information and to view the full Indiana Youth Tobacco Survey findings, visit in.gov/health/tpc/surveys-and-reports.
Visit the Indiana Department of Health at www.health.in.gov for important health and safety information, or follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/StateHealthIN.