Overall Increase In Tobacco Use By NM High School Students Driven By E-Cigarette Use



Use of tobacco products during adolescence is associated with higher risk for adverse health effects and lifelong nicotine addiction according to a New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey newsletter.

The 2019 NM-YRRS asked about current use (past 30-day use) of five tobacco products: cigarettes, cigars, spit tobacco, hookahs, and e-cigarettes (vaping). While use of cigarettes, cigars, hookahs and spit tobacco products have decreased over the past decade, current use of e-cigarettes has increased by 42% since the question was added to the NM-YRRS in 2015.

  • Current cigarette smoking decreased by 63%, from 24.0% in 2009 to 8.9% in 2019.
  • Current cigar smoking decreased by 54%, from 18.1% in 2009 to 8.3% 2019.
  • Current spit tobacco use decreased by 50%, from 11.8% in 2009 to 5.9% in 2019.
  • Current hookah use decreased by 59%, from 20.0% in 2011 to 8.2% in 2019.
  • Current e-cigarette use increased by 42%, from 24.0% in 2015 to 34.0% in 2019.
  • Current use of any tobacco product increased by 23%, from 30.8% in 2009 to 37.8% in 2019.

E-cigarette use drove the increase in tobacco use. Current use of most types of tobacco products has decreased substantially over the past decade. However, the overall tobacco use rate among New Mexico high school students has increased, driven entirely by the introduction of and dramatic increase in e-cigarette use, according to the newsletter.

The New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey (YRRS) is a survey of public high school students (grades 9 – 12) and public middle school students (grades 6 – 8). The survey includes questions about risk behaviors (behaviors contributing to unintentional injury; behaviors associated with violence; mental health, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts; alcohol, tobacco and drug use; sexual activity; and physical activity, nutrition, and body weight) and resiliency (protective) factors.

The YRRS is conducted by the New Mexico Department of Health and Public Education Department, with technical assistance from the University of New Mexico Prevention Research Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The NM YRRS is a part of the national Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System.

The 2019 statistics for individual school districts have not yet been released.