Delaware tobacco use reaches all time low, but vaping is on the rise
Tobacco use is the lowest it’s ever been in Delaware among both children and adults.
Tobacco use has declined in Delaware from 22 percent in 2011 to about 17 percent in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
And high school smoking rates are down to about 10 percent.
FredGatto, with the state Division of Public Health, credits that decline in part to Delaware’s Clean Indoor Air Act, which was signed into law 15 years ago Wednesday (May 31, 2002). That law bans smoking inside workplaces and most public indoor areas.
"We've also put an enormous amount of resources into smoking cessation and prevention programs over the past few years," Gatto said.
But despite these efforts, tobacco use is still the number one cause of preventable deaths in Delaware.
Gatto said 1,400 Delawareans die each year because of tobacco use.
“Of course it’s costly too. Tobacco use costs annually more than $500 million a year in Delaware. Over $95 million of that is in Medicaid spending,” Gatto said.
One-third of all cancers in the state are also caused by tobacco use or exposure.
And, as traditional tobacco use is on the decline, electronic-cigarette use (or vaping) is on the rise among children.
Nearly a quarter (23.5 percent) of all kids in Delaware admit to using e-cigarettes, despite the state banning the sale of them to minors 3 years ago.
The rate of e-cigarette use among adults in Delaware is about 3 percent.
Delaware added e-cigarettes to its indoor smoking ban in 2015.