Colorado No Longer Top in the Nation for Youth Vaping but There’s More Work to be Done

September 16th, 2020

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published its National Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) data.

These data, which are released every two years by the CDC, show an encouraging trajectory in our efforts to curb tobacco and vape consumption by Colorado youth; however, we still have more work to do. 

The findings of the most recent survey show that Colorado has made significant gains to prevent a generation of young people from developing a life-long addiction to tobacco. 

In 2017 our state had the highest rate of youth vaping in the country. Colorado youth were vaping at nearly twice the rate of the national average (then 27% vs. 13.2%). Now, 2019 data show that Colorado youth are vaping significantly less than the national average (25.9% vs. 32.7%).¹

The recently released YRBSS data also show that the popularity of vaping among all U.S. youth has significantly increased since 2017. As of 2019 (the most recent data available), 50.1% of U.S. high school students have tried using an electronic vapor product. This is up from 42.2% in 2017.²

These recent findings suggest that statewide efforts over the past two years to educate Colorado youth on the dangers of vaping have slowed the trend locally but we’re not out of the woods.

One in four Colorado youth vape today – and that’s still far too many. 

Meanwhile, youth cigarette use continues to decline. Today, just 5.3% of Colorado high school students currently smoke cigarettes – down from 7% percent two years ago.³ This decrease is consistent with the broader national trend that we’ve seen over the past decade.  

Continuous education on the dangers of tobacco and vape by state and local health agencies, as well as by Colorado parents and trusted adults, combined with local tobacco control policies, are key to continuing to reduce the number of young people who initiate and regularly use tobacco and vaping products. 

To learn more about how to have a conversation with young people about the dangers of tobacco and vape, please visit:

You can find more on the YRBSS research, data and reports at:


¹ Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 2019; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
² Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 2019; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
³ Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, 2019; Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment,