Big Rise in Marijuana Vaping Among U.S. Teens


By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Might 20, 2022 (HealthDay Information) — A rising variety of U.S. youngsters are vaping marijuana — a behavior that in some methods could also be extra dangerous than old style pot smoking, a brand new examine finds.

Researchers discovered that between 2017 and 2019, the share of teenagers who reported any marijuana use prior to now month ticked upward barely — from 13.9% to 15.4%.

What actually modified, the examine discovered, was how youngsters have been utilizing the drug. There was a pointy enhance in vaping, whereas conventional marijuana smoking declined.

The proportion of youngsters who mentioned they vaped marijuana “incessantly” — a minimum of as soon as every week — greater than doubled, from 2.1% to five.4%. Occasional use (one to 6 occasions a month) rose to an analogous diploma.

On the identical time, the proportion of youngsters who smoke marijuana declined. In essence, vaping gave the impression to be changing smoking, in accordance with lead researcher Katherine Keyes, a professor at Columbia College Mailman Faculty of Public Well being in New York Metropolis.

She mentioned she may solely speculate in regards to the causes. However the rising recognition of vaping nicotine, together with legalization and altering social norms round marijuana, are seemingly elements, Keyes mentioned.

These factors have been echoed by Linda Richter, vp of prevention analysis and evaluation for the nonprofit Partnership to Finish Habit.

She mentioned previous analysis gives some “compelling explanations” for the tendencies seen on this examine.

“First, the wave of nicotine vaping that unfold all through center and excessive colleges over the previous a number of years elevated the chance that children who vape nicotine will transition to vaping marijuana,” mentioned Richter, who was not concerned within the examine.

Vaping, she added, has turn into “normalized,” whereas on the identical time “pro-marijuana messages” have grown.

“Vaped merchandise are additionally usually seen as safer and more healthy than smoked merchandise, as a result of when e-cigarettes have been initially launched to the market, they have been marketed as safer alternate options to cigarette smoking,” Richter mentioned.

However vaping is far from benign. And in relation to marijuana, Keyes mentioned, vaping can really ship the next dose of THC than smoking does. THC is the energetic ingredient behind marijuana’s “excessive.”

That larger THC dose, Richter mentioned, can “hook younger individuals to the substance and preserve them coming again for extra.”

And whereas vaping doesn’t contain smoke, the liquids utilized in vaporizers do include probably poisonous chemical compounds, Richter identified. Vitamin E acetate, an additive in some THC-containing vaping merchandise, has been linked to extreme — and generally deadly — lung accidents.

That lack of smoke can also be an issue of types: Children can conceal marijuana vaping extra simply than smoking, Richter mentioned, as a result of there isn’t any telltale pot odor.

The brand new findings — revealed Might 19 within the journal Addiction — are based mostly on greater than 51,000 U.S. teenagers who took half in annual well being survey between 2017 and 2019.

Throughout that point, marijuana vaping rose amongst girls and boys, with a big spike in these utilizing a minimum of as soon as every week: from 2.9% to six.2% amongst boys, and from 1.3% to 4.7% amongst ladies.

By 2019, marijuana vaping was extra well-liked than conventional pot smoking amongst all racial and ethnic teams, aside from Black teenagers.

Keyes additionally pointed to a discovering from a earlier examine of the identical group of teenagers: Highschool seniors reported an particularly sharp rise in marijuana vaping — with the prevalence almost tripling, from 5% to 14%.

The vaping craze presents mother and father with some troublesome points, in accordance with Keyes and Richter. Not solely is marijuana use tougher to note, however youngsters are additionally seeing marijuana vaping merchandise marketed in all places, together with on social media, they identified.

“It is not a matter of whether or not your baby can be uncovered to this, however when,” Keyes mentioned. “The most effective factor mother and father can do is to speak to their youngsters about marijuana use, and begin early — in center faculty.”

Richter agreed, encouraging mother and father to take a “well being fairly than a punitive strategy” to these conversations.

Extra data

Partnership to Finish Habit has recommendation for fogeys on speaking about marijuana.

SOURCES: Katherine Keyes, PhD, professor, epidemiology, Columbia College Mailman Faculty of Public Well being, New York Metropolis; Linda Richter, PhD, vp, prevention analysis and evaluation, Partnership to Finish Habit, New York Metropolis; Habit, Might 19, 2022, on-line

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