Crow Wing Energized created a student survey with the assistance of the Minnesota Department of Health to be administered to Brainerd High School students in the spring of 2019.

The survey was conducted in an effort to provide insight into tobacco usage and mental illness among high school-aged students. The Crow Wing Energized Steering Committee and Crow Wing Energized Tobacco Coalition provided feedback prior to public release.

For many in the community who work with youth, the results of the tobacco questions in the survey may not be surprising. For others, however, this is a shocking glance into the e-cigarette epidemic.

While cigarette use among high school students is at an all-time low across the country, the popularity of e-cigarettes has continued to increase. The lack of tobacco smell, enticing flavorings, and the perception that e-cigarettes are harmless have all contributed to this rise in popularity.

E-cigarettes still pose a significant health risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, e-cigarette aerosol can contain harmful substances including heavy metals, cancer causing chemicals, and flavorings such as diacetyl that can cause permanent lung damage. And as with all tobacco products, nicotine can also pose a significant risk to pregnant women and result in low birth weights and interfere with brain development.

In addition, the use of nicotine salts by some e-cigarette manufacturers, such as Juul, can provide a higher, quicker release of nicotine into the body than other manufactured e-cigarettes. This more closely simulates the experience of smoking a combustible cigarette and can also make them more addictive.

Brain development continues until the age of 25, making youth particularly vulnerable for addiction. As a result, almost 95% of tobacco users start before the age of 21 according to the U.S Department of Health & Human Services. As many past smokers can attest, quitting can take multiple attempts before success. Consequently, one of the best ways to avoid this challenge is by never using tobacco products in the first place.

So what can we do to curb the tide? Know the facts and be ready to listen. Trusted adults are a key resource in the lives of teens and youth. Set a positive example by being tobacco- free. QUITPLAN services offer free counselling sessions and starter quits for Minnesota residents. You can also speak to your healthcare provider about tobacco treatment services.

Want to get more involved in reducing the harm of tobacco use in Crow Wing County? Join other community members in Crow Wing Energized’s Tobacco Coalition, which meets monthly. Contact Jessica Williams at Jessica.williams@essentiahealth.org for more information.

Cessation resources

QUITPLAN

  • Free professional counseling available to anyone in Minnesota.

  • 888-354-PLAN

  • www.quitplan.com

Tobacco Treatment

Essentia Health offers individual counseling with a local certified tobacco treatment specialist, medication options to help you quit and a personalized plan with ongoing follow up and support.

If you want to quit smoking, you don’t need to do it alone. You’ll get one-on-one help from a certified tobacco treatment specialist who can suggest medications proven to make quitting easier and provide research-based tips and advice to help you succeed.

Receiving medications and/or face-to-face counseling at Essentia make you twice as likely to quit tobacco for good compared with phone counseling alone. People who meet with their Essentia counselor three or more times have a 50% quit rate after six months.

To get started and request an appointment, call 218-828-7100 or toll free at 844-403-7010. This service is covered at 100% by most health insurance plans.

Your body benefits minutes after you quit

  • Twenty minutes after quitting: Your blood pressure improves and the temperature of your hands and feet goes back to normal.

  • Eight hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

  • Two weeks to three months after quitting: Blood circulation improves and your lung function increases up to 30 percent.

  • One year after quitting: Your risk for heart disease may be half that of a smoker.

  • Five to 15 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is close to that of a nonsmoker.

  • Ten years after quitting: The risk for cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas goes down.