It’s time to band together and look for solutions to help our youth out of a vaping epidemic that has affected teens across the country but has really hit New Mexico hard. Out of 44 states participating in a national survey, New Mexico ranked third highest in high school students’ use of e-cigarettes, with one in three high school students using e-cigarettes.
Nationally, New Mexico is ranked fifth in overall youth smoking rate. This is not one of those times when we want to be ranked at the top!
One way to bring an end to this epidemic is to raise the price of cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Youth are particularly sensitive to any price increases, which is a proven way to help people quit tobacco use. New Mexico has one of the lowest tax rates on e-cigarettes, which has played a part in the dramatic increase in e-cigarette use among our youth.
Teens often aren’t aware of the high levels of nicotine found in many e-cigarettes on the market today. They are highly addictive, which can lead to a lifelong addiction that in turn can lead to heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and other respiratory diseases that will have long-term health impacts. As this epidemic continues, tobacco companies are pouring in millions of dollars into New Mexico to entice youth into taking up smoking and vaping. These companies are predators looking to hook the next generation of tobacco and nicotine users. Our children deserve a chance to live healthy lives.
In the near future, we'll reach out to you with ways to contact Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham and our state legislators to ask them to increase New Mexico’s tobacco taxes, including e-cigarette taxes, to keep these dangerous products away from our youth.