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January 16, 2020

Vaping rose sharply among US teens

By Amanda J Sonnega

Nicotine use, and particularly cigarette smoking, had been steadily decreasing among adolescents in past decades&until vaping came along, that is. Vaping involves the use of a device, usually an e-cigarette, to inhale vapor that often contains nicotine with attendant negative consequences for health. The adoption of this technology has been rapid among teens, growing to become the most common form of nicotine consumption in 2017. In a recent letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, SRC's Richard Miech, Lloyd Johnston, Patrick O'Malley, Jerald Bachman along with Megan Patrick (University of Minnesota) used data from Monitoring the Future to look at a representative sample of 8th,10th, and 12th graders in the U.S. from 2017 to 2019 to examine the patterns of vaping reported by young teens. Vaping of nicotine more than doubled across all three grades in the two year span. The prevalence of vaping among 8th graders increased from 3.5 to 9.0 percent; for 10th graders from 8.2 to 20.2 percent; and for 12th graders from 11.0 to 25.4 percent. The prevalence of daily vaping was high, at 12 percent for 12th graders. According to the report, this suggests the development of nicotine addiction. Clearly efforts aimed at stemming this tide are not effective, and new methods and strategies will have to be considered to decrease teen vaping.

Richard Miech, Lloyd Johnston, Patrick O'Malley, Jerald Bachman, Megan Patrick (2019). Trends in Adolescent Vaping, 2017-2019. New England Journal of Medicine, 381:1490-1491.