A growing number of Minnesota teens are vaping marijuana despite more public health campaigns against vaping.

In 2020, 1 in 5 Minnesota high schools students reported using e-cigarettes. Of those students 65% vaped marijuana — nearly double the rate in 2017, according to a new study by the state Department of Health. Among the 3% of middle school students who used e-cigarettes, 72% vaped marijuana in 2020, up from 16% in 2017.

The pandemic is adding new concerns about vaping, since smokers are at higher risk for complications from the coronavirus and e-cigarettes can damage lung tissue.

“We’re seeing a big addiction crisis building and we need a comprehensive approach,” said Laura Smith of ClearWay Minnesota, a foundation established with funds from the state’s 1998 tobacco settlement. “We continue to be concerned about the health crisis of e-cigarette use.”

In the new state study, 78% of students reported that the first tobacco product they ever tried was flavored.

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