County of Marin - News Releases - Vaping Data

For Immediate Release
September 21, 2018

Alarming New Data on Youth Vaping in Marin

Increase among teens draws concern of County health officials

San Rafael, CA – New data show that vaping among Marin County seventh, ninth, and 11th graders has more than doubled in the past two years, adding urgency to the County of Marin’s consideration of an ordinance to ban the sales of vaping products and flavored tobacco products in unincorporated areas of the county. Vaping among youths increases the likelihood of smoking cigarettes, which is among the leading causes of premature death in the United States.

Two hands are shown with a vaping product.Vaping products are gaining popularity among young people.
The 2017-18 California Healthy Kids Survey, produced by the state’s Department of Education, surveyed Marin County youths in 2016 and 2018. Over the two-year interval, increased use of electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices was reported for all age groups, from seventh through 11th grade. The largest increase, from 11 percent to 28 percent, was among 11th graders. A district-by-district analysis will be completed in November.

“This confirms the concerns of educators, parents and public health officials who have noted an alarming increase in the use of these products by young people in our schools, at home, and in our communities,” said Dr. Matthew Willis, Marin’s Public Health Officer. “Almost a third of Marin 11th graders are regularly using harmful, nicotine-containing products that are highly addictive.

“We need to take action now to protect a whole new generation from life-long addiction. Fortunately, we know our parents, school officials, policymakers and the community share our concern, and we’re moving together. Partners are already taking action, and we need to accelerate our response.”

The Marin County Board of Supervisors will consider adding a chapter to the Marin County Code with an ordinance prohibiting the sale of vaping products and flavored tobacco products this fall. Similar action has been taken in Sausalito, Fairfax, and Novato.

In evaluating results from the two surveys, regular use of electronic cigarettes or other vaping devices increased for Marin seventh graders from 2 percent to 5 percent and ninth graders from 9 percent to 20 percent. The percentage of students who have ever used a vaping device or e-cigarette has gone up from 25 percent to 34 percent for ninth graders, and from 39 percent to 47 percent for 11th graders. Marin’s vaping rates are following the national trend.

This summer, the Smoke-Free Marin Coalition, a member of the Marin Prevention Network, partnered with the Marin County Office of Education to send out a booklet to all 3,000 freshman families called “Community of Concern” that provided information to parents about tobacco (including vaping), alcohol and other drugs.

The annual cost of tobacco smoking in Marin exceeds $138 million.  Marin HHS’ Tobacco Prevention Services Office allocates state and local dollars to provide tobacco prevention interventions to Marin residents. The office collaborates closely with law enforcement, the Marin County Office of Education, the Smoke Free Marin Coalition and other community groups.


Dr. Matthew Willis
Public Health Officer
Health and Human Services

3240 Kerner Blvd.
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 473-4163
Email: Dr. Matthew Willis
Marin HHS website