Underage Nicotine Use

Nearly all nicotine product use begins in adolescence. According to the CDC, nicotine use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death in the United States. Despite the good news that cigarette smoking is decreasing among young people, 3.6 million middle and high school students used electronic cigarettes and vaping devices in 2020.

Of all South Carolina students in grades 9-12:

  • 23.1% have tried cigarettes.
  • 5.9% smoked cigarettes in the past month.
  • 10.2% of these students took their first puff before age 13
  • 47.3% have used electronic vapor products.
  • 21.1% have used electronic vapor products in the past month.
  • 11.7% of those students who used electronic vapor products obtained them by buying them from a store themselves.
  • 7.1% used smokeless tobacco in the past month.
  • 51% of students who used nicotine products during the past 12 months – including cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco and electronic vapor products – did not try to quit.