Stats on kids who try vaping is troubling

The similarities between smoking cigarettes and puffing on e-cigarettes are numerous. Perhaps the most significant being that addicts of each started with one puff.

While much of America, young and old, have kicked the cigarette habit or ignored the temptations and pressures to even try smoking, today’s youth are also being sucked in like “more fine tobacco taste” to vaping.

In this issue, Minot Daily News reports on statistics concerning kids and vaping that are hard to take. Hard to take considering all the time, effort, public attention and money that went into fighting Big Tobacco for decades for the sake of our kids.

Alarming fact No. 1 has to be that the number of North Dakota high school youth reporting e-cigarette use at least once in the past 30 days went from 1.6 percent in 2011 to 19.1 percent in 2017. If vaping were a disease we’d be using words like “epidemic” to describe its advance.

No. 2: More than 20 percent of North Dakota high school students are current e-cigarette users. That would be an admirable success rate if the merchants were selling fruits and vegetables. They’re not.

Hey, somebody is getting rich off North Dakota kids, and kids’ health is being put at risk even if vaping isn’t “as bad” as smoking tobacco.

In the coming months – years in all probability – we are going to hear a lot about what should be done to combat the new demon on the schoolyard, from controlling access to punitive taxes. And, thank goodness, focusing on education.

Encouraging kids not to try vaping in the first place, we’ll find, is the most effective way to spare them from the negative effects of e-cigarettes. Guiding e-cigarette users to quit will also be key, just as with tobacco cigarettes.

Sadly, we are already behind in a fight most of us saw coming long ago.