Huge Rise in Marijuana Vaping Amongst U.S. Teenagers

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 school 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 fifteen.4%.

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

The share of youngsters who stated they vaped marijuana “incessantly” — a minimum of as soon as per 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, in keeping with lead researcher Katherine Keyes, a professor at Columbia College Mailman Faculty of Public Well being in New York Metropolis.

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

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

She stated previous analysis affords some “compelling explanations” for the traits seen on this examine.

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

Vaping, she added, has change into “normalized,” whereas on the similar 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 had been initially launched to the market, they had been marketed as safer options to cigarette smoking,” Richter stated.

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

That greater THC dose, Richter stated, can “hook younger folks to the substance and maintain them coming again for extra.”

And whereas vaping doesn’t contain smoke, the liquids utilized in vaporizers do include probably poisonous chemical substances, 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 be an issue of types: Children can conceal marijuana vaping extra simply than smoking, Richter stated, as a result of there is not any telltale pot odor.

The brand new findings — printed Could 19 within the journal Addiction — are primarily based 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 per week: from 2.9% to six.2% amongst boys, and from 1.3% to 4.7% amongst women.

By 2019, marijuana vaping was extra common 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 practically tripling, from 5% to 14%.

The vaping craze presents dad and mom with some troublesome points, in keeping with Keyes and Richter. Not solely is marijuana use more durable to note, however youngsters are additionally seeing marijuana vaping merchandise marketed in every single place, together with on social media, they identified.

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

Richter agreed, encouraging dad and mom to take a “well being relatively than a punitive strategy” to these conversations.

Extra data

Partnership to Finish Dependancy 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 Dependancy, New York Metropolis; Dependancy, Could 19, 2022, on-line


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