Substance Use

Substance use is consistently identified as a top health issue in Wisconsin as a whole and Walworth County specifically. Currently, areas of specific local concern include, but are not limited to, opiate use, the drinking culture, and youth e-cigarette use. Walworth County supports efforts that work on preventing use, reducing harm from use, and increasing access to treatment Learn more about the areas we focus on by clicking on the tabs below:

Living tobacco and nicotine free reduces a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease, various cancers, respiratory diseases, and experiencing complications during pregnancy. The benefits of tobacco-free living are particularly high for people who live with diabetes or other common chronic diseases.


E-cigarettes, or “vapes” produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine—the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products—flavorings, and other chemicals that help to make the aerosol. Users inhale this aerosol into their lungs. Bystanders can also breathe in this aerosol when the user exhales into the air.  

Vapes,” are one of the latest evolutions in tobacco products. They’re also one of the biggest threats to our kids’ health. While traditional cigarette smoking rates have dropped, use of electronic smoking devices has skyrocketed among young people—exposing them to the dangers of nicotine, addiction, and a variety of new health risks.

From the 2019-2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey we learned more about the prevalence of vaping in youth. In Walworth County, 6 percent of middle schoolers are current users.  Those numbers jump by the time kids reach high school. Today, 32 percent of high schoolers have tried vaping, and 15 percent consider themselves current users.

Sweet and trendy flavors like mango, cotton candy, and birthday cake are a big part of why vapes are so popular. In a recent study, 80 percent of young vape users said they used vapes “because they come in flavors I like,” and 95 percent of Wisconsin middle schoolers say they wouldn't use an unflavored product.


Cigarettes contain harmful chemicals such as tar and nicotine that can damage the lungs and lead to serious health problems such as lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Additionally, smoking cigarettes can harm not only the smoker, but also those around them who inhale secondhand smoke.

Menthol cigarettes are more appealing and easier to smoke. In addition, menthol enhances the addictive effects of nicotine in the brain. Menthol in cigarettes makes it more likely that youth and young adults will try smoking and that those who start smoking will continue to smoke on a regular basis.

Learn more about cigarettes and health hazards here

Vaping Prevention Education Presentation

Free educational presentation that focuses on vaping data, components of a vape device, health consequences, effects on the young brain and quitting resources. This presentation can be adapted for all audiences, from elementary age to adults. To request a presentation, please fill out our Community Health Education Form.

Community Coalition - WALCODAC

Walworth County Health & Human Services participates in our community substance use coalition, Walworth County Drug and Alcohol Coalition (WALCODAC) - visit their website to learn more about their work.