Tobacco use decreases in Georgia; E-cigarette use increases

Students in Georgia uniting against tobacco use with 'Kick Butts Day'

LIBERTY COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - A group of students with the Liberty County 4H team joined to celebrate their annual “Kick Butts Day.” This day is a day set aside to campaign against smoking in schools. This year, kids are focused on kicking the Juul, the e-cigarette that has become popular among kids across the country.

The Coastal Health District says while youth tobacco use has decreased, e-cigarette use continues to increase. They also say tobacco use is still the leading cause of death in Georgia, which covers all the counties along the coast of Georgia, including Liberty County.

According to reports from the Department of Public Health, e-cigarettes among youth is now a major public health concern.

”They don’t realize that vaping and juuls are dangerous as well, and they realize the overall effect that tobacco can have on their life," says Gypsy Tart with Liberty County 4-H.

The data from 2017 says the usage among youth increased from 15.7 percent in 2013 to 26.1 percent in 2017.

The Department of Public Health also says the usage of e-cigarettes increased by grade level over the past five years.

”First of all, I need to know why you are doing it. Is it peer pressure? We need to address these things and lead by example. Those would be the first steps I would take in advocating a good healthy appearance," says Sabrina Newby of the Coastal Georgia Minority Chamber.

The Liberty County 4H team says they are focusing on juuls this year and calling on the Food and Drug Administration to ban all flavored tobacco products or reduce youth tobacco use by raising the tobacco sale law to age 21.

Our purpose is to educate the community about the dangers of not only smoking and tobacco, but vaping and juuls as well," Tart said.

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