Alarming rise in vaping among teens nationally

It was a mixed-bag of news from the medical and law enforcement communities Monday with the release of an annual report of teen drug use.

The federally funded survey conducted by University of Michigan researchers found that while overall drug use and abuse by teens seems to be declining, vaping — the act of inhaling and exhaling an nicotine-infused aerosol which is produced by an e-cigarette — jumped from 2017 to 2018.

In fact the findings, based on interviews with 45,000 students in grades 8, 10 and 12 in schools across the country, determined the number of teens vaping had doubled during the period.

Researchers and others are worried by the study, which found that 1 in 5 high school seniors reported having vaped nicotine in the previous month.

Meanwhile, marijuana smoking is about the same level as it was the past few years. Vaping of marijuana rose, however, AP reported in a story earlier this week.

In addition, usage of alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, heroin and opioid pills all declined, stated AP.

One theory to explain the increase is the popularity of an easily concealed e-cigarette. Another is that vaping, for many, is a private activity and therefore not easily observable.

Whatever the cause of the increase, all of us must pay attention. Everyone knows nicotine is harmful to developing brains, said AP.

If you think your teen is involved in this type of activity, be proactive and address the problem.

Check out this tip sheet from the Surgeon General’s office for practical advice: https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/documents/SGR_ECig_ParentTipsheet_508.pdf.

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