The number of teenagers vaping marijuana linked to 52 deaths and more than 2,000 illnesses increased 6% in a single year, study finds
- Between 2017 and 2018, the number of middle and high school students in the US that reported vaping marijuana increased by 5.6%
- Nearly half of students who had ever tried vaping had tried doing it with marijuana
- More than half of teenagers who regularly vape said they’ve used marijuana e-cigs
- The primary concern for teenagers vaping has been addiction, but the University of Michigan study suggests they may be increasingly at risk of lung illnesses
- THC vapes are suspected in more than 2,000 cases of illness and 52 deaths linked to e-cigarettes
More and more US teenagers are vaping not just nicotine, but marijuana, a new study reveals.
Between 2017 and 2018, the number of high school seniors who had vaped marijuana in the last month increased by 5.6 percent, according to new University of Michigan research.
Teen vaping and e-cigarette addiction have been dubbed an ‘epidemic’ by US health officials.
Meanwhile, THC vapes – and the vitamin E acetate used in some of them – are the likely suspects in a slew of more than 2,000 life-threatening lung illnesses and more than 50 deaths in the US.
The number of teenagers vaping marijuana is on the rise in the US, suggesting the epidemics of youth addiction and adult illnesses linked to THC may merge (file)
More than one in four high school students in the US vapes – and a growing number use marijuana products in their e-cigarettes.
The new study, published Wednesday in JAMA, found that more than half of kids that currently use any e-cigarettes (53.3 percent) have used vaped marijuana.
So had the vast majority of students who had used more than one tobacco products – including nicotine vapes, cigarettes and chewing tobacco – had tried marijuana vaping products.
And even nearly half (43 percent) of students that had ever tried vaping had also tried using it to inhale marijuana.
That meant that, in total, 14.7 percent of middle and high schoolers in the US had tried vaping cannabis at least once in 2018, compared o just over 11 percent in 2017.
Teen vaping has primarily had health officials worried over addiction.
In particular, the Juul – used by 54 percent of vaping middle schoolers and 60 percent of high schoolers – packs a potent dose of nicotine.
A newly published study found that its ingredients are nearly identical to – and as addictive as – Marlboro cigarettes.
Although Centers or Disease Control (CDC) investigators have not yet ruled out nicotine e-cigarettes as a cause the thousands of cases of lung illnesses across the US, the products are not the focal point of the officials’ probe.
So far, the youngest person to die after vaping was 17.
The vast majority of e-cigarette products used by sickened vapers that they’ve tested have been found to contain THC.
And the majority of those now seem to contain vitamin E acetate, a sticky oil now considered a ‘strong culprit’ of the vaping illness epidemic.
South Korean scientists reported finding vitamin E acetate in Juul pods also, but US testing has not confirmed this finding.
Earlier this month, CDC officials announced that the majority of the THC vapes they’d studied were ‘Dank vapes.’
Dank vapes are not a brand at all, but packaging sold on its own, which is used by bootleggers to package their illegally made and sold THC e-cigarette products.
‘As the number of adolescents who vape marijuana increases, so too does the scope and effect of any associated health consequences, which may include lung injury when using black market formulations,’ warned the University of Michigan study authors.
‘The rapid rise of marijuana vaping indicates the need for new prevention and intervention efforts aimed specifically at adolescents.’