Report shows drop in number of teens smoking, vaping | KOB 4

Report shows drop in number of teens smoking, vaping

Casey Torres
Created: January 18, 2021 01:31 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) found a drop in the number of high and middle school students using tobacco products from 2019 to 2020. A pulmonologist from Presbyterian weighed in on why the numbers are still too high.

"You can't live without oxygen. Damaging the organ that is responsible for taking in oxygen is very dangerous," said Dr. Denise Gonzalez. "Putting things like chemicals from vape, or chemicals from burning tobacco — those are all very dangerous and damaging to the lungs."

 She doesn't want people ruining their lungs, especially youth.

"Our lungs continue to grow and develop until the age of 30 before we start a steady decline in our lung function. So anybody that starts any type of tobacco product is causing damage to their lungs, and they stunt the overall development of their lungs," she said.

According to the NYTS, tobacco product use is down. In 2019, about 6.20 million high school and middle school students used any type of tobacco product. That number went down to 4.47 million students in 2020. 

The survey said the decline in use of e-cigarettes and vaping products is credited for the lower number.

"We really need to aim for no tobacco products," said Dr. Gonzalez. "Vaping is already bad for you. It already does terrible things to your lungs, your body. Then you add it into a situation like a COVID pandemic, that makes it all the more difficult."

She said lungs with a vaping-related injury look the same as a COVID-19 patient's complete "white-out" lungs.

"It makes it particularly difficult, now during the pandemic, when people come in. They have this white-out of the lung. It's hard to tease out if it's COVID, if it's vape or if it's something else," she said.

Dr. Gonzalez hopes, with this information, that people will put their smoking products down and never pick one up again.

Copyright 2021 - KOB-TV LLC, A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

Comment on Facebook