Big Rise in Marijuana Vaping Among U.S. Teens

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By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 20, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- A increasing fig of U.S. teenagers are vaping marijuana -- a wont that successful immoderate ways whitethorn beryllium much risky than old-fashioned pot smoking, a caller survey finds.

Researchers recovered that betwixt 2017 and 2019, the percent of teens who reported immoderate marijuana usage successful the past period ticked upward somewhat -- from 13.9% to 15.4%.

What truly changed, the survey found, was however kids were utilizing the drug. There was a crisp summation successful vaping, portion accepted marijuana smoking declined.

The percent of kids who said they vaped marijuana "frequently" -- astatine slightest erstwhile a week -- much than doubled, from 2.1% to 5.4%. Occasional usage (one to six times a month) roseate to a akin degree.

At the aforesaid time, the proportionality of kids who fume marijuana declined. In essence, vaping seemed to beryllium replacing smoking, according to pb researcher Katherine Keyes, a prof astatine Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health successful New York City.

She said she could lone speculate astir the reasons. But the rising popularity of vaping nicotine, on with legalization and changing societal norms astir marijuana, are apt factors, Keyes said.

Those points were echoed by Linda Richter, vice president of prevention probe and investigation for the nonprofit Partnership to End Addiction.

She said past probe offers immoderate "compelling explanations" for the trends seen successful this study.

"First, the question of nicotine vaping that dispersed passim mediate and precocious schools implicit the past respective years accrued the likelihood that kids who vape nicotine volition modulation to vaping marijuana," said Richter, who was not progressive successful the study.

Vaping, she added, has go "normalized," portion astatine the aforesaid clip "pro-marijuana messages" person grown.

"Vaped products are besides typically seen arsenic safer and healthier than smoked products, due to the fact that erstwhile e-cigarettes were primitively introduced to the market, they were advertised arsenic safer alternatives to cigaret smoking," Richter said.

But vaping is acold from benign. And erstwhile it comes to marijuana, Keyes said, vaping tin really present a higher dose of THC than smoking does. THC is the progressive constituent down marijuana's "high."

That higher THC dose, Richter said, tin "hook young radical to the substance and support them coming backmost for more."

And portion vaping does not impact smoke, the liquids utilized successful vaporizers bash incorporate perchance toxic chemicals, Richter pointed out. Vitamin E acetate, an additive successful immoderate THC-containing vaping products, has been linked to terrible -- and sometimes fatal -- lung injuries.

That deficiency of fume is besides a occupation of sorts: Kids tin conceal marijuana vaping much easy than smoking, Richter said, due to the fact that there's nary telltale cookware odor.

The caller findings -- published May 19 successful the diary Addiction -- are based connected much than 51,000 U.S. teens who took portion successful yearly wellness survey betwixt 2017 and 2019.

During that time, marijuana vaping roseate among boys and girls, with a ample spike successful those utilizing astatine slightest erstwhile a week: from 2.9% to 6.2% among boys, and from 1.3% to 4.7% among girls.

By 2019, marijuana vaping was much fashionable than accepted cookware smoking among each radical and taste groups, but for Black teens.

Keyes besides pointed to a uncovering from a erstwhile survey of the aforesaid radical of teens: High schoolhouse seniors reported an particularly crisp emergence successful marijuana vaping -- with the prevalence astir tripling, from 5% to 14%.

The vaping craze presents parents with immoderate hard issues, according to Keyes and Richter. Not lone is marijuana usage harder to notice, but kids are besides seeing marijuana vaping products marketed everywhere, including connected societal media, they pointed out.

"It's not a substance of whether your kid volition beryllium exposed to this, but when," Keyes said. "The champion happening parents tin bash is to speech to their kids astir marijuana use, and commencement aboriginal -- successful mediate school."

Richter agreed, encouraging parents to instrumentality a "health alternatively than a punitive approach" to those conversations.

More information

Partnership to End Addiction has proposal for parents connected talking astir marijuana.

SOURCES: Katherine Keyes, PhD, professor, epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York City; Linda Richter, PhD, vice president, prevention probe and analysis, Partnership to End Addiction, New York City; Addiction, May 19, 2022, online

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