More American teenagers are vaping, while their use of alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, heroin, and opioid pills is dropping, according to University of MI researchers, the Associated Press reported. It was more common in older kids - about 1 in 17 high school seniors said they use marijuana every day.
Twenty-one percent of high school seniors vaped nicotine this year, compared to just 11% last year, almost double.
In historical context, "the absolute increases in the prevalence of nicotine vaping among 12th-graders and 10th-graders are the largest ever recorded by Monitoring the Future in the 44 years that it has continuously tracked dozens of substances", the authors of the report wrote in a letter to the editor Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The annual survey, which also measures use of other substances including marijuana, alcohol and opioids, questioned more than 44,000 students from eighth, 10th and 12th grades in US public and private schools.
"This report dovetails with the government's Tobacco Control Plan commitment to back innovative products in its drive to encourage smokers to quit, and its recommendations are evidence-based and created to maximise the benefits of safer nicotine delivery", said the NNA about the report.
"Teens are clearly attracted to the marketable technology and flavorings seen in vaping devices", Dr. Nora D Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told the Guardian. About 1 in 4 students said they'd used marijuana at least once in the past year. "We also know from many longitudinal studies of youth that those who use e-cigarettes are about three times more likely to start smoking cigarettes", she said.
The Food and Drug Administration "has also recognized an "epidemic" of youth vaping". So that's really what has all of us concerned.
Other e-liquid flavors seemed to be squarely aimed at kids, with packages that resembled frosted cookies and sour sweets.
"Kids have been able to get their hands on and use them in ways that are a lot easier to use than a combustible cigarette", Kovall said. Analysts now estimate the company controls more than 75 percent of the US e-cigarette market. "The concern is these kids that become addicted to nicotine from vaping also may transition to tobacco smoking".
Experts worry that the high nicotine content of vape products may be addicting a new generation of tobacco users. "We will be focusing much of our new prevention research on the period of time when teens transition out of school into the adult world and become exposed to the risky use of these drugs".
"Just a few years ago, we saw that over 10 percent of high school seniors reported using Vicodin in any given year. Now we also know that they are using it for 9THC", or tetrahydrocannabinol, a cannabinoid chemical in marijuana, she said.
The percentage of 8th-grade students vaping in the past 30 days increased too - from 3.5 percent to 6.1 percent.
Another disturbing finding in the new survey is that more teens say they are inhaling "just flavoring" when they vape, increasing fears many adolescents don't realize they are inhaling high levels of nicotine. This reflects attitudes among people their parents' age: As more states legalize the recreational use of cannabis, more people say they believe it is safe and natural.