More US Teens Are Vaping, But Use of Opioids, Alcohol Falls

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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.

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.

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

The percentage of high school seniors who say they vaped nicotine in the past 30 days almost doubled this year, a dramatic increase that federal officials want to curb with new rules and restrictions.

"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.

About 37 percent of 12th graders said they had vaped within the previous 12 months compared with about 28 percent in 2017. But that's not quite as beneficial as it seems since the teens are replacing drug use with vaping and alcohol.

"Also, perhaps educational campaigns about the high risk of overdoses that are associated with the use of these substances, and the high risk of addiction to these substances, all of these factors may have had a positive impact (on) teenagers".

"When we see rates of around 6 percent of high school seniors smoking marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis, that's an bad lot of kids whose memory may be impaired and their brains aren't working at full steam at the exact time when they need to be", Compton said. More than 25 percent claimed they vaped "just flavoring" in the past year, up from 20.6 percent in 2017. Regulators will need to pay close attention to the fast-changing market and be ready to modify their policies if necessary, they said. Therefore the ban on nicotine doses over 20mg/ml, is putting a stumbling block in that first step of a smoker's journey to a smoke free life. "The concern is these kids that become addicted to nicotine from vaping also may transition to tobacco smoking". Unfortunately, glorifying the use of their products contributes to an increase use of vaping among youth.

"Just a few years ago, we saw that over 10 percent of high school seniors reported using Vicodin in any given year".

Alcohol use also has declined. "Right now the number is more like 1.7 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. "The increase in vaping goes against the trends for all other drugs and alcohol, which are declining". 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.

Even though alcohol and binge drinking rates appeared to be on the decline, alcohol was still "the most frequently used substance" in the report, Volkow said.

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

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