Teen vaping continues to rise while other drug use declines, survey finds

Teen vaping continues to rise while other drug use declines, survey finds

Officials and anti-smoking activists have called for more education about the potential harms of nicotine addiction and more oversight of the way the burgeoning e-cigarette industry markets e-cigarettes. The FDA last month announced proposals to curb underage vaping by restricting sales of sweet-flavored e-cigarette liquid. Further, some researchers are concerned that vaping will serve as a "gateway drug" to cigarettes and other drugs.

Health experts fear that the high nicotine content of vaping liquids can be extremely addictive for teenagers and ultimately lead them to traditional cigarettes. Only 1.7 percent of seniors reported misuse of Vicodin in the past year compared with 10 percent 15 years ago.

The percent of 12th-graders who said they only vaped flavoring in the past year increased to 25.7 percent in 2018, up from 20.6 percent in 2017.

More than 37 percent of high school seniors say they've vaped, which is up from just over a quarter a year ago. The store does not sell Juul pods.

Juul said in a statement that it shares the surgeon general's goal: "We are committed to preventing youth access of Juul products".

The result was part of the 2018 Monitoring the Future survey, which studied around 45,000 students in the eighth, 10th and 12th grades throughout the United States to track trends in substance use by American teens.

The survey has tracked drug, alcohol and cigarette use among teens since 1975.

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Use of prescription opioids and tranquilisers also declined in 2018.

Compton said more progress is needed, however.

"The rapid growth in e-cigarette use has come to an end while over a third of smokers have still never tried e-cigarettes, saying the main reasons are concerns about the safety and addictiveness of e-cigarettes". What they know for sure is that the vaping boom among teens is on the rise.

"The policies and procedures in place to prevent youth vaping clearly haven't worked", said Richard Miech of the University of MI, who led the study. In 2018, 7.5 percent of seniors, 7 percent of sophomores and 2.6 percent of eighth-graders said they had vaped marijuana in the past 30 days. Fewer high school seniors used other tobacco products, including the once-popular hookah pipes, smokeless tobacco and tiny cigars.

"This increase was driven exclusively by nicotine vaping, given that the use of each of the other six nicotine products declined", the researchers wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Use of other illicit drugs - including cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, ecstasy and hallucinogens - did not change substantially in the past year, according to the survey results. The proportion of students who said they downed five or more drinks in a row at least once in the previous two weeks fell to 14 percent, from almost 17 percent in 2017.

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