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Big Rise in Marijuana Vaping Among U.S. Teens


By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Could 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 research finds.

Researchers discovered that between 2017 and 2019, the share of teenagers who reported any marijuana use up to now month ticked upward barely — from 13.9% to fifteen.4%.

What actually modified, the research discovered, was how children had been utilizing the drug. There was a pointy enhance in vaping, whereas conventional marijuana smoking declined.

The proportion of youngsters who stated they vaped marijuana “regularly” — at the least 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 similar time, the proportion of youngsters who smoke marijuana declined. In essence, vaping gave the impression to be changing smoking, based on lead researcher Katherine Keyes, a professor at Columbia College Mailman College of Public Well being in New York Metropolis.

She stated she might solely speculate concerning the causes. However the rising reputation of vaping nicotine, together with legalization and altering social norms round marijuana, are possible elements, Keyes stated.

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

She stated previous analysis presents some “compelling explanations” for the developments seen on this research.

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

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

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

However vaping is far from benign. And in relation to marijuana, Keyes stated, vaping can truly ship a better dose of THC than smoking does. THC is the lively ingredient behind marijuana’s “excessive.”

That increased THC dose, Richter stated, 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 doubtlessly poisonous chemical compounds, Richter identified. Vitamin E acetate, an additive in some THC-containing vaping merchandise, has been linked to extreme — and typically deadly — lung accidents.

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

The brand new findings — revealed Could 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 at the least 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 fashionable than conventional pot smoking amongst all racial and ethnic teams, apart from Black teenagers.

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

The vaping craze presents dad and mom with some tough points, based on Keyes and Richter. Not solely is marijuana use tougher to note, however children are additionally seeing marijuana vaping merchandise marketed all over the place, together with on social media, they identified.

“It is not a matter of whether or not your little one will likely be uncovered to this, however when,” Keyes stated. “The very best factor dad and mom can do is to speak to their children about marijuana use, and begin early — in center faculty.”

Richter agreed, encouraging dad and mom to take a “well being somewhat 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 College of Public Well being, New York Metropolis; Linda Richter, PhD, vice chairman, prevention analysis and evaluation, Partnership to Finish Habit, New York Metropolis; Habit, Could 19, 2022, on-line

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