Sunday December 8, 2019
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Drug Use Among Teens Down in The U.S. But Vaping Still On The Rise

The vaping explosion is a big worry, however. Health officials say nicotine is harmful to developing brains.

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e-cigarette, vaping
In this April 11, 2018, photo, an unidentified 15-year-old high school student uses a vaping device near the school's campus in Cambridge, Mass. Health and education officials across the country are raising alarms over wide underage use of e-cigarettes and other vaping products. The devices heat liquid into an inhalable vapor that's sold in sugary flavors like mango and mint — and often with the addictive drug nicotine. VOA

Twice as many high school students used nicotine-tinged electronic cigarettes this year compared with last year, an unprecedented jump in a large annual survey of teen smoking, drinking and drug use.

It was the largest single-year increase in the survey’s 44-year history, far surpassing a mid-1970s surge in marijuana smoking.

The findings, released Monday, echo those of a government survey earlier this year. That survey also found a dramatic rise in vaping among children and prompted federal regulators to press for measures that make it harder for kids to get them.

Experts attribute the jump to newer versions of e-cigarettes, like those by Juul Labs Inc. that resemble computer flash drives and can be used discreetly.

e-cigarette, cigarettes
Customers puff on e-cigarettes at the Henley Vaporium in New York City. VOA

Trina Hale, a junior at South Charleston High School in West Virginia, said vaping — specifically Juul — exploded at her school this year.

“They can put it in their sleeve or their pocket. They can do it wherever, whenever. They can do it in class if they’re sneaky about it,” she said.

Olivia Turman, a freshman at Cabell Midland High School in Ona, West Virginia, said she too has seen kids “hit their vape in class.”

The federally funded survey released Monday is conducted by University of Michigan researchers and has been operating since 1975. This year’s findings are based on responses from about 45,000 students in grades 8, 10 and 12 in schools across the country. It found 1 in 5 high school seniors reported having vaped nicotine in the previous month.

After vaping and alcohol, the most common thing teens use is marijuana, the survey found. About 1 in 4 students said they’d used marijuana at least once in the past year. It was more common in older kids — about 1 in 17 high school seniors said they use marijuana every day.

Vaping, teeth,e-cigarette, cigarettes
Nicotine vaping on rise among US teenagers: Survey. Pixabay

Overall, marijuana smoking is about the same level as it was the past few years. Vaping of marijuana rose, however.

More teens, however, are saying no to lots of other substances. Usage of alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, heroin and opioid pills all declined.

Experts say it’s not clear what’s behind those trends, especially since the nation is in the midst of the deadliest drug overdose epidemic ever.

“What is it that we’re doing right with teenagers that we’re not doing with adults?” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a federal agency that funds the Michigan study.

One leading theory is that kids today are staying home and communicating on smartphones rather than hanging out and smoking, drinking or trying drugs.

Vaping, teeth,e-cigarette, cigarettes
In this Feb. 20, 2014 file photo, a customer exhales vapor from an e-cigarette at a store in New York. A growing number of e-cigarette and vaporizer sellers have started offering college scholarships as a way to get their brands listed on university websites. VOA

“Drug experimentation is a group activity,” Volkow said.

What about vaping? “Vaping mostly is an individual activity,” said David Jernigan, a Boston University researcher who tracks alcohol use.

The vaping explosion is a big worry, however. Health officials say nicotine is harmful to developing brains. Some researchers also believe vaping will make kids more likely to take up cigarettes, and perhaps later try other drugs.

Also Read: New Survey Shows Rise of Nicotine Vaping Among US Teenagers

So far that hasn’t happened, surveys show. But the Juul phenomenon is recent, noted Richard Miech, who oversees the Michigan survey.

If vaping does lead to cigarette use among teens, that may start to show up in the survey as early as next year, he added. (VOA)

Next Story

Heavy Smoking Can Make Your Face Look Older

An alysis searched across 18,000 traits and apart from the new finding of more rapid facial aging, also identified several previously reported effects of smoking, confirming the method's effectiveness

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Smoker’s Face– a condition where smokers look older than they are, is just one of many negative effects caused by heavy Smoking, researchers have warned.

“We searched across thousands of traits to identify those that may be affected by how heavily someone smokes. As well as identifying several known adverse effects such as on lung health, we also identified an adverse effect of heavier smoking on facial aging,” said study author Louise Millard from the University of Bristol in UK.

According to the study, published in the journal PLOS Genetics, some people carry one or two copies of a genetic variant that is associated with heavier tobacco use.

To simultaneously identify these two types of effects, the researchers used a novel combination of two data analysis approaches and applied them using data from people in the UK Biobank.

They separated people into two groups. The first contained people who had never smoked, and the second included current and former smokers.

Smoking
Smoker’s Face– a condition where smokers look older than they are, is just one of many negative effects caused by heavy Smoking, researchers have warned. Pixabay

The analysis searched across 18,000 traits and apart from the new finding of more rapid facial aging, also identified several previously reported effects of smoking, confirming the method’s effectiveness.

The known effects of smoking that the analysis identified included worse lung function, and higher risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and skin cancer.

ALSO READ: Google To Stop Services For explorer Edition of Glass Soon

Besides emphasising smoking’s many dangers, the study also serves as proof of principle that these data analysis tools can be used to identify effects of other exposures of interest, such as alcohol intake. (IANS)