Teen vaping continues to rise at an alarming rate

19 December, 2018, 18:21 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • Surgeon General Jerome Adams addresses an audience during a national summit focused on police efforts to address the opioid epidemic

The government's top doctor is taking aim at the best-selling electronic cigarette brand in the US, urging swift action to prevent Juul and similar vaping brands from addicting millions of teenagers.

The number of high school students trying e-cigarettes increased to 1.3 million users in 2018.

A total of 37.3 percent of 12th graders reported "any vaping" in the past 12 months, compared to 27.8 percent in 2017, the survey said.

The findings are "a remarkable wake-up call for public health officials, and for parents and communities who are responsible for raising healthy children", said Dr. Wilson Compton, the deputy director of the institute, which funded the survey.

The new report vindicates their fears.

"Teens are clearly attracted to the marketable technology and flavorings seen in vaping devices", says Volkow.

The students surveyed said they had vaped nicotine, marijuana or simply flavoring. The store does not sell Juul pods.

Other e-liquid flavors seemed to be squarely aimed at kids, with packages that resembled frosted cookies and sour sweets.

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has described teen vaping an "epidemic".

Compton said more progress is needed, however.

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The restrictions proposed by the state legislature follow San Francisco's ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products, including vaping liquids and menthol cigarettes, which took effect in July. The eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders completed their questionnaires at school during a normal class period.

The study found a decline in teen use of other substances, including cigarettes, the use of which has dropped to its lowest level since 1975.

Still, the increase in the past year was striking.

Among 10th-graders, nicotine vaping climbed at a record rate - doubling from 8 percent to 16 percent. Many claim they're just vaping e-liquid flavors.

The use of any kind of nicotine-containing product - including traditional cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco - by 12th-graders grew from 23.7 percent in 2017 to 28.9 percent in 2018. Further, some researchers are concerned that vaping will serve as a "gateway drug" to cigarettes and other drugs. Researchers have found that high-school students who vape are much more likely to become cigarette smokers than their classmates who don't vape.

If vaping does lead to cigarette use among teens, that may start to show up in the survey as early as next year, he added.

The percentage of 8th-grade students vaping in the past 30 days increased too - from 3.5 percent to 6.1 percent.

Around 45.7 percent of eighth graders and 66.6 percent of 10th graders said the vaping devices are "fairly easy" or "very easy" to get, the survey said. Other illicit drugs, including cocaine, synthetic cannabinoids, and MDMA as well as alcohol also remained at historic lows.

Alcohol use and binge drinking also continue to decline among teens, according to the survey. About 17 percent of high school seniors reported being drunk during the past month, down from 26 percent five years ago.

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