Teens using vaping devices in record numbers

New research shows a significant increase in vaping among U.S. teenagers. The findings—from the 2018 Monitoring the Future survey of a nationally representative sample of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in schools across the country—show that 37.3% of high school seniors reported "any vaping" in the past year, compared with 27.8% in 2017. According to the data, reported use of vaping by 12th graders in the 30 days before the survey rose from 11% last year to 20.9% in 2018. Additionally, 10.9% of 8th graders said they had vaped nicotine in the past year, with use up significantly in most vaping measures across all three grades studied. Marijuana vaping is also on the rise, with 13.1% of 12th graders reporting it this year compared with 9.5% in 2017. "Teens are clearly attracted to the marketable technology and flavorings seen in vaping devices; however, it is urgent that teens understand the possible effects of vaping on overall health; the development of the teen brain; and the potential for addiction," said Nora D. Volkow, MD, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Research tells us that teens who vape may be at risk for transitioning to regular cigarettes, so while we have celebrated our success in lowering their rates of tobacco use in recent years, we must continue aggressive educational efforts on all products containing nicotine." The survey also noted that 25.7% of 12th graders said they vaped "just flavoring" in the past year, up from 20.6% in 2017; but it is not clear if they were aware of what is in their vaping devices, as the most popular ones do not have options without nicotine and some labeling has been found to be incorrect. Additionally, 45.7% of 8th graders and 66.6% of 10th graders said vaping devices are "fairly easy" or "very easy" to get. Further information on the survey's vaping findings are reported today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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