In the end, there’s always the big question: what do post-millennials like to add inside their puffing devices?
Comparing to the 70s, more American teenagers this year are using vaporizers than common cigarettes. A new study showed Thursday a significant peak among people over twelve years, and it has opened a great debate between experts who say that e-cigarettes are better than classic ones, and those who say the opposite.
The data suggested by the annual Monitoring the Future survey compared students in their final year of high school. It showed that 35.8 percent of them had tried vaping at least once, and only 26.6 percent had smoked a cigarette.
American experts tended to argue against the vaporizers, known among the public all around the world. They said that the substances contained in the devices are dangerous to humans. However, British experts insisted that vaping has more benefits than harms and that it helps people to quit smoking.
This kind of study begun 43 years ago, but the American researchers started to gather data from several thousands of 12th graders smoking vaporizers only since 2015. According to the survey, approximately 50,000 teens in about 420 public and private secondary schools helped the experts.
The research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. That is why, each year, people consider the study as the most authoritative national picture of teen drug use.
Although not all the students accepted they had tried vaping, the study showed a high probability that the majority of them is, at least, aware of the existence of the device.
Smoking cigarettes was highly common among students in the mid-1990s. In 1996, 65.4 percent of them admitted having smoked at least one. This means 38.8 percent more than the figure shown by this year’s study.
When Monitoring the Future started asking about vaporizers in 2015, 35.5 percent of seniors admitted having vaped. In 2017, that number rose slightly to 38.8 percent.
“These findings emphasize that vaping has progressed well beyond a cigarette alternative,” Richard Miech, the principal investigator on the annual Monitoring the Future survey, told The Guardian. “Vaping has become a new delivery device for a number of substances, and this number will likely increase in the years to come.”
Teens vaping marihuana
For the first time, the researchers from the organization asked the teenagers about the substances they had smoked. Among them, they pointed marihuana, nicotine, and flavoring alone. The results showed that 1 out of four 12th graders had vaped nicotine, and 11.9 percent of them had vaped marihuana.
However, the experts said that the numbers might seem low because not many of them knew what elements are contained in the liquids they are vaping.
Having established that these products might contain nicotine or marihuana, people often think that they are regulated. However, that is not true at all.
Congress passed a law in 2009 to regulate the devices, but the Food and Drug Administration – a decade later – has not informed anything about it. Experts have expected that the FDA will remain as it is at least until 2021.
Companies are fearing that one day, this regulation might succeed. RJ Reynolds and Altria (formerly Philip Morris USA), for instance, was one of those who fought the law approved by Congress in 2009.
On the other hand, there are people concerned about how teens are using the vaporizers. Robin Koval, CEO of the Truth Initiative – an organization thoroughly committed to decreasing the number of young people smoking – said that he’s worried about teenagers vaping marihuana. According to him, cannabis causes dementia, especially when the brain is developing.
“But as concerns this audience, which are young people, it’s not a good idea for them to be consuming nicotine in any way, shape or form,” Koval said. “It’s concerning to see that.”
Fewer teens using drugs
Although this research might make people think that there are more “bad teenagers” than ever, it’s actually the opposite. According to another study from the same organization, students nowadays are drinking alcohol, smoking and consuming drugs in fewer proportions.
This year, only 1 out of three teens admitted having used illicit drugs. Twenty years ago, that figure was 43 percent.
On the same line, 26 percent of teens admitted having experimented being drunk. But in 1990, that number was 20 percent more.
“The rates of drug use among teenagers in our country are the lowest they’ve ever been for some drugs,” Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told Los Angeles Times.
Referring to marihuana, the organization saw that more teens were smoking the drug than ever before.
Last year, 68.5 percent of seniors said they disapproved regular marihuana use, while 40.6 said they considered this practice as risky. However, this year, 64.7 percent of them disliked the drug, and only 14.1 percent saw “great risk” in smoking cannabis.
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse