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Vaping spikes among teens

December 17, 2018

Use of vaping devices among many teens has spiked about 10 percent in the past year, according to the National Institutes of Health.

According to the NIH, 37.3 percent of 12th graders report “any vaping” in the past 12 months — compared with 27.8 percent in 2017. The numbers come from the 2018 Monitoring the Future survey, an ongoing study of substance use and abuse in American student. Each year, a total of approximately 50,000 8th, 10th and 12th grade students are surveyed.

The survey results were announced Monday by the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of NIH.

While all vaping was up about 10 percent, the specific vaping of nicotine also jumped by that much, from 11 percent in 2017 to 20.9 percent in 2018. Also, 10.9 percent of eighth graders reported vaping nicotine in the past year, and use of vaping products is up among all age groups surveyed.

Also of note is that reports of past year marijuna vaping also increased this year, at 13.1 percent for 12th graders, from 9.5 percent last year.

The percent of 12th graders who say they vaped “just flavoring” in the past year also increased to 25.7 percent in 2018 from 20.6 percent in 2017. However, it is unclear if teens know what is in the vaping devices they are using, since the most popular devices do not have nicotine-free options, and some labeling has been shown to be inaccurate. There was also a significant jump in perceived availability of vaping devices and liquids in eighth and 10th graders, with 45.7 percent and 66.6 percent, respectively, saying the devices are “fairly easy” or “very easy” to get.

This year’s survey shows regular tobacco is still at its lowest point in the survey since it began measuring it, with only 3.6 percent of high school seniors smoking daily, compared to 22.4 percent two decades ago. Smoking tobacco with a hookah is significantly lower than five years ago, at 7.8 percent in the past year among high school seniors, compared to 21.4 percent in 2013.

The Monitoring the Future survey did contain optimistic news about teenage opioid use. The past year use of prescription opioids is at 3.4 percent among 12th graders — down from 4.2 percent in 2017. Only 1.7 percent of high school seniors report misuse of Vicodin in the past year, compared to a peak of 10.5 percent 15 years ago.

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