Whereas fewer American teenagers are lighting up cigarettes, extra of them are vaping as an alternative, a brand new report reveals.
On the similar time, marijuana use has held regular because it stays extra standard than cigarettes and, in a chunk of excellent information, misuse of opioid painkillers like OxyContin has really dropped amongst adolescents.
In 2017, greater than 1 in four highschool seniors mentioned they’ve vaped in the course of the previous yr — and most apparently do not know they’re toying with a probably addictive product.
Practically 28 p.c of 12th graders reported making an attempt an e-cigarette or different vaping system in 2016, based on outcomes from the 2017 Monitoring the Future survey, sponsored by the U.S. Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
However when requested what they’d inhaled whereas vaping, about 52 p.c of highschool seniors responded “simply flavoring.” Solely 33 p.c mentioned they’d inhaled vapor that comprises nicotine.
“They do not even understand that what they’re utilizing is a tobacco product,” mentioned Erika Sward, assistant vice chairman of the American Lung Affiliation.
E-cigarettes include fewer dangerous chemical compounds than conventional tobacco merchandise, and may show helpful in serving to adults give up smoking, mentioned NIDA Deputy Director Dr. Wilson Compton.
However “that is a really completely different story whenever you’re speaking about youths who might not have used another tobacco product,” Compton identified. “As an alternative of this being a tradeoff, this could possibly be an entree into what we all know is usually a lifelong, terribly dangerous behavior. Youngsters that begin with vaping do transition to smoked tobacco extra usually than those that’ve by no means used e-cigarettes.”
Sward mentioned the survey outcomes “actually underscore why aggressive motion from the [U.S.] Meals and Drug Administration is required” concerning regulation of e-cigarettes.
However the FDA introduced in July that it will delay its overview of vaping merchandise which might be already in the marketplace for an additional 5 years, Sward famous.
“That delay of 5 years actually locks in the entire merchandise which might be presently in the marketplace which have flavorings and enchantment to youngsters,” Sward mentioned. “[The] FDA’s choice to delay true oversight goes to have important penalties.”
The survey had extra constructive information when it got here to teen smoking and prescription painkiller abuse.
Simply over four p.c of highschool seniors reported smoking cigarettes every day, down greater than 24 p.c from 1997, the survey confirmed.
The lower in teen cigarette smoking is “a exceptional public well being story during the last 20 years. In a single technology, we have had simply a big impact,” Compton mentioned.
Nevertheless, extra 12th graders now report every day marijuana use (virtually 6 p.c) than tobacco smoking, the survey discovered.
However teenagers are dipping into prescription ache drugs a lot much less usually. Previous-year misuse declined to simply over four p.c, down from a peak of 9.5 p.c in 2004.
The lower in painkiller abuse doubtless is tied to the general response to America’s opioid disaster, Compton mentioned. Fewer opioid prescriptions are being written in an effort to stem the tide of abuse that has claimed 1000’s of lives, and meaning there are fewer capsules accessible for misuse.
There’s proof within the survey to assist this idea. Solely 36 p.c of highschool seniors mentioned these medicine are simply accessible, in comparison with greater than 54 p.c in 2010.
Marijuana use is about the identical because it was in 2015, with round 24 p.c of youngsters making an attempt pot at the very least as soon as inside the previous yr, the survey revealed.
This may increasingly not appear to be a win, but it surely really is, Compton mentioned. There’s been no enhance in teenagers utilizing pot, despite the fact that marijuana legalization is spreading state-by-state throughout the nation.
“Regardless of very permissive attitudes by youth and an absence of concern concerning the harms of marijuana, the charges actually have not gone up,” Compton mentioned. “The very fact they have not gone up is a little bit of a shock for many of us.”
There’s additionally been a leveling off in binge consuming — having 5 or extra drinks in a row inside the previous two weeks, the survey confirmed.
Total, greater than 43,700 college students participated on this yr’s survey, which since 1975 has measured how teenagers report their drug, alcohol and cigarette use.