ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ A new survey says one in four Minnesota 11th graders reported using an e-cigarette in the previous 30 days, a 54% increase from the same survey in 2016.

The Minnesota Department of Health said Wednesday the jump among 8th graders was even more significant, with 11% reporting vaping in the preceding 30 days, nearly double the 2016 figure.

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The Minnesota Student Survey was conducted last school year, before the nationwide surge in lung illnesses blamed on vaping. Minnesota now has 55 confirmed or probable cases of vaping-related severe lung injuries.

Gov Tim Walz says vaping has become a public health crisis for young Minnesotans. He's directed his administration to launch an aggressive outreach campaign to schools and come up with policy proposals for the 2020 Legislature to combat youth vaping.

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