Spike in Teen Vaping Is Unprecedented

Twice as many indulge compared to last year, an unprecedented jump
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 17, 2018 7:40 AM CST
In this file photo, a high school student uses a vaping device near a school campus in Cambridge, Mass.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

(Newser) – Twice as many high school students used nicotine-tinged electronic cigarettes this year compared with last year, an unprecedented jump in a large annual survey of teen smoking, drinking, and drug use. It was the largest single-year increase in the survey's 44-year history, far surpassing a mid-1970s surge in marijuana smoking, per the AP. Experts attribute the jump to newer versions of e-cigarettes, like those by Juul Labs Inc. that resemble computer flash drives and can be used discreetly. The federally funded survey released Monday is conducted by University of Michigan researchers and has been operating since 1975. This year's findings are based on responses from about 45,000 students in grades 8, 10, and 12 in schools across the country. It found 1 in 5 high school seniors reported having vaped nicotine in the previous month.

After vaping and alcohol, the most common thing teens use is marijuana, the survey found. About 1 in 4 students said they'd used marijuana at least once in the past year. It was more common in older kids—about 1 in 17 high school seniors said they use marijuana every day. Overall, marijuana smoking is about the same level as it was the past few years. Vaping of marijuana rose, however. More teens, however, are saying no to lots of other substances. Usage of alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, heroin, and opioid pills all declined. (Juul says it is taking steps to discourage sales to young people, and the feds have put restrictions in place on that front.)

(Read more vaping stories.)

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