Rise in Teen Vaping a National Concern

Though drug, alcohol and tobacco use are down to historic numbers, recent studies and data show that vaping among teenagers is increasing with each year.

Vaping, or electronic cigarettes, is the newest technology to give users access to nicotine. Though many people vape to help combat an addiction to cigarettes, the concern now is that it’s reaching a younger age of users for recreational purposes.

Vaping involves the use of an electronic cigarette, hookah or similar device to inhale the vapor. Some “juices” used to vape contain nicotine, flavoring or marijuana.

1.3 Million Additional Teenagers Vaped in 2018

Monitoring the Future (MTF) conducted a 2018 survey from a sample of 8th, 10th and 12th graders this year. The survey included 44,482 students from 392 public and private schools. MTF is funded by a government grant to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The results were reported by Nora D. Volkow, M.D., director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Among the detailed results, the year 2018 saw a rise in 12th graders reporting any type of vaping within the past 12 months. The current spike is at 37.3 percent compared to 27.8 percent for the year 2017. The reports also showed an increase in marijuana vaping among 12th graders, up 13.1 percent as opposed to 9.5 percent last year.

The combined total numbers from the study indicate that approximately 1.3 million additional teenagers vaped in 2018. Many teenagers reported a significant availability of vaping devices as well, saying it was “easy” or “fairly easy” to obtain.

Volkow said there is an urgency among getting teens to understand the effects vaping, specifically addiction, has on development. “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 increase in vaping correlated with data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that showed a 78 percent increase in youth vaping between 2017 and 2018. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also recognizes that vaping is an ‘epidemic’ for youth.

In addition, vaping and e-cigarettes have also been linked to explosion risks. Our law firm is currently representing a number of people who were injured after their e-cig or vape device exploded in their face while using.

Though cigarette use among teens is down, the results that vaping is on the rise is the next concern. Substance abuse is at all-time low levels among teenagers. That includes alcohol, heroin, prescription opioids, MDMA (ecstasy or Molly), methamphetamine, amphetamines, sedatives, and ketamine. Yet, another interesting factor is studies indicate youth who vape are three times more likely to start smoking cigarettes, according to data from the JAMA Network.

Government regulation on vaping has been moving swiftly to combat the rise, popularity, and availability of devices and liquids. Adolescent intervention in the arena of vaping could help curtail the likeliness to use other substances in the future.

In 2016, the FDA extended regulatory authority to cover tobacco products. The FDA currently regulates the manufacturing, importing, packaging, labeling, advertising, promotion, sale and distribution of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

The most recent data serves as a warning to government agencies that the rise in this new technology is affecting teenagers at rapid speed. On January 19, 2019, the FDA will be hosting a public hearing to discuss youth vaping and efforts to eliminate the use. For more information, click here.

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