(LOUISVILLE, Ky, April 25, 2019) The Kentucky Incentives for Prevention (KIP) Survey 2018 Statewide Trends Sourcebook shows that youth vaping and e-cigarette use doubled or nearly doubled in all four grades -- 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th - included in the survey. Released today by the Substance Abuse Prevention Program within Kentucky's Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, the survey also shows that rates of vaping among Kentucky youth are much higher than national averages rates (nationally, one in 20 middle schoolers and one in five high schoolers used e-cigarettes in 2018). Further, the survey shows:

  • Continued declines in use of several substances, including alcohol, combustible cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.
  • Psychological distress and other associated mental health measures, as well as reports of suicidal behavior, have risen steadily since 2014.
  • Feeling unsafe at school increased substantially in 2018.
  • In 2018, students were less likely to perceive that it is easy to obtain alcohol, combustible cigarettes, and marijuana.

On Monday, April 22, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky released public service announcements and other free resources about youth e-cigarette use. The "I Just Didn't Know" campaign features Kentucky youth sharing with their peers what they've learned about the dangers of e-cigarettes. The PSAs are available on YouTube, and are accompanied by a website and an Instagram page.

Following is a statement from Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, regarding this report:

"This unprecedented two-year surge in Kentucky youth vaping and e-cigarette use underscores the urgency of our efforts to warn kids and the adults in their lives about the dangers of these tobacco products for youth. E-cigarettes and vapes are chock full of nicotine that can cause both immediate and permanent brain damage to youth. They prime the developing brain for addictions to other substances. They can cause cancer and lung damage. And they have been known to explode and cause poisoning among very young kids.

"We urge every Kentucky school district that doesn't already have a tobacco-free campus policy to expedite their plans to comply with the new tobacco-free schools bill. We also urge parents, teachers and other adults to talk to kids about e-cigs and help them understand that they are absolutely not safe for kids or young adults."

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NOTE TO REPORTERS, EDITORS and PSA DIRECTORS: The I Just Didn't Know campaign includes a website (www.ijustdidntknow.org), an Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/ijustdidntknowky/) and a YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd9zDa_0zusA7ynf30nkKMw). Broadcast copies of the PSAs are available for download from Centaur by contacting Alexa Kerley at 877-326-2583, akerley@healthy-ky.org.

About the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Funded by an endowment, the mission of the nonpartisan Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is to address the unmet health needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested nearly $28 million in health policy research, advocacy, and demonstration project grants across the Commonwealth. Follow the Foundation on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and visit our website at www.healthy-ky.org.

Media Contacts:
Bonnie J. Hackbarth
877-326-2583 (Office)
502-552-3770 (Mobile)

Alexa Kerley
877-326-2583 (Office)
859-229-9611 (Mobile)