Report: Tobacco use among Montana teens on the rise

A recent report from the 2018 America’s Health Rankings Women and Children Report shows Montana’s tobacco usage among adolescents has increased seven percent since 2016. More than 22 percent of high school students currently use e-cigarettes and almost half have tried them, according to the Department of Public Health and Human Services.

The popular use of e-cigarettes is normalizing tobacco use behavior and addicting a whole new generation to nicotine, and that is very concerning, according to Sheila Hogan, Director of the Department of Public Health and Human Services Director in a press release.

This increase in tobacco use coincides with an initiative that would raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes by $2 in Montana to support health initiatives in the state. The Healthy Montana Initiative, among other things, aims to raise taxes on tobacco products to fund Medicaid expansion. The attorney general’s office estimates that new revenue from these tax increases will generate $74.3 million per year by 2023.

Cigarette taxes continue to be a successful approach to reduce adolescent smoking, a report by the Journal of Adolescent Health found. The youngest adolescents are the most price sensitive.

Montana is ranked as the 28th healthiest state in the nation for women and children in the 2018 America’s Health Rankings Women and Children Report. Rankings for this report are based on four determinants that directly influence health outcomes: behaviors, community and environment, policy, and clinical care.