A new study investigates the vaping habits of teenagers, finding many choose to vape nicotine and marijuana.
Adolescence is a critical developmental period, during which significant changes occur in the brain. Some drugs and chemicals can affect the development of cognitive processes and have lifelong consequences. One example is nicotine, which has been found to impact the prefrontal cortex in people under 25. Another example is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana, which is thought to impact executive functions including emotional regulation.
The rise of e-cigarette or vape use among teenagers could lead to increased rates of nicotine use because many e-liquids contain nicotine in varying concentrations. Many vapes can also vaporize cannabis or THC liquids, potentially leading to increased cannabis use.
To further investigate teens vaping nicotine and marijuana, researchers examined the vaping habits of teenagers and how often they used vapes containing these psychoactive chemicals. The results of the study were recently published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
A total of 14,560 high school students were questioned on whether they had vaped in the past 30 days. They also disclosed which substances they used: nicotine, marijuana, or just flavoring. The researchers recorded the students’ grade, location, sex, race, and parental education level for further analysis.
Twelve percent of the participants had vaped in the past 30 days, and only 24.9 percent solely used flavoring in their vape. The remaining 75.1 percent vaped either nicotine, marijuana, or a combination of both. Additionally, increased rates of vaping were associated with increased rates of cigarette smoking as well as increased age.
The results of this study suggest that most teenagers who vape, use nicotine or marijuana rather than solely flavored e-liquid. More research is needed to determine the widespread use of nicotine and marijuana, with an emphasis on public health campaigns aimed at preventing teenagers from vaping these potentially harmful substances.
Written by Avery Bisbee
Dai, H., & Siahpush, M. (2019). Use of E-Cigarettes for Nicotine, Marijuana, and Just Flavoring Among U.S. Youth. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2019.09.006
Feldhausen, T. S. (2019, December 3). Explainer: The nico-teen brain. Retrieved December 17, 2019, from https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/explainer-nico-teen-brain.
Three quarters of teens who vape report using nicotine, marijuana, or multiple substances. (2019, December 16). Retrieved December 17, 2019, from https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-12/e-tqo121119.php.
Wallis, C. (2017, December 1). What Pot Really Does to the Teen Brain. Retrieved December 17, 2019, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-pot-really-does-to-the-teen-brain/.
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