Northeast Florida students not immune to vaping craze

Compared to neighboring counties, Duval County has a relatively low vaping rate

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There’s no question vaping has grown increasingly popular among teens despite major health concerns.

Once billed as a healthier alternative to smoking, the habit has been linked to 12 deaths and hundreds of cases of lung damage across the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Scrutiny over health issues potentially related to vaping led Juul, the maker of a popular vaping device, to halt marketing of its products in the states – and the resignation this week of the company’s CEO.

Florida is not immune to the vaping craze. 

In fact, Florida Department of Health data show just 2 percent of youth ages 11 to 17 reported vaping in 2012. Six years later, that percentage has grown to 15.7 percent, or more than seven times higher.

Locally, the health department interviewed almost 4,000 teens from 21 Jacksonville schools about in 2017. To organize their findings, researchers divided Duval County into six so-called health zones.

Researchers found the highest rates of raping were reported within Health Zone 1, an area stretching from downtown to Northwest Jacksonville that includes Ribault, Raines and Stanton, among others.

Compared to some neighboring counties, Duval’s vaping numbers are low. While 12 percent of Duval County teens report vaping, that figure is 15.9 percent in Clay and 20.5 percent in St. Johns.

While the health department has not released a detailed breakdown of vaping illnesses reported in Florida, the Duval chapter said it has seen no cases. Clay County, meanwhile, has received one.

Until researchers learn more about the cause of vaping-related illnesses, the CDC recommends that youth and young adults avoid using e-cigarettes and other vaping products entirely.

View a detailed county-by-county breakdown using our Infogram below:


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