Teens are binge drinking less, but vaping more
End of year statistics indicate that teens are binge drinking less, but vaping more
Is this a good thing?
Not too long ago, an article was published on wtop.com about a study that was conducted in the US. The study (which was conducted by the National Institute of Drug Abuse) showed some positive numbers in terms of drug, cigarette, and alcohol use among teenagers – but some people are alarmed by the fact that vaping seems to be rising in popularity as these other habits decrease.
Here are some of the highlights from the study, which can be found here.
- Prescription opioid misuse and heroin are both at their lowest rates since the MTF survey first began – as they are for many substances
- Despite the fact that the ‘perceived risks’ of marijuana use have softened among teens, use of the drug among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders remained relatively steady
- Synthetic cannabinoids saw a significant decline over the past year
- Current trends show that alcohol use among teens continues to decrease
- Tobacco cigarette usage is at its lowest point since the survey began
- There was shown to be an overall increase in the number of 8th and 10th graders who viewed E-cig use as harmful
On the website (drugabuse.gov), two main areas of concern were cited.
- Marijuana use among high school seniors exceeded cigarette use for the first time in the survey’s history.
- The use of electronic cigarettes was said to be ‘high’ among teens.
The wtop.com article had this to say about the E-cig trends.
“But there were also worrisome trends in the 2015 version of the survey. While cigarette smoking declined, vaping continued to rise.”
Of course, the big question here is whether or not E-cig use should be grouped-in together with tobacco, drug, and alcohol use. While E-cigs do contain nicotine and are addictive in nature, they seem to be quite a bit different from tobacco-filled cigarettes, alcohol, or illegal drugs.
Then again, it’s also true that more and more teens are using dry-herb vaporizers to ‘vape’ marijuana. According to this article, published by USAtoday.com, about 27% of high school students who have used both E-cigs and marijuana reported using the two together. In other words, some teens are using vaporizers to smoke cannabis – and this has a lot of people worried.
Should we be worried about teens and E-cigs?
In a word – yes. It’s definitely one thing for an adult to choose to vape, and quite another for a teen under the age of 18 to do so. Of course, these are US statistics, but this is a problem that everyone should be thinking about.
It’s pretty much been shown that electronic cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes – but it’s also true that they’re not without their own side-effects. E-liquid also generally contains nicotine, which makes them addictive.
They might be safer, but that doesn’t make them a good choice for teens. And when teens choose to use them to vaporize illegal substances, we should definitely be paying attention to the problem and doing everything possible to keep them safe.
In the end, it really all comes down to this. Is there a way to keep electronic cigarettes out of the hands of minors, while still keeping them accessible to adults who need an alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes?
This seems to be the number-one question – and if we could solve it, there’s no doubt that a lot of people would feel much better about the whole situation.
Information! From my point of view, it seems that people get a little too worked up over vaporizers. Yes, some teens are using them to do things that aren’t good for them, but it seems that restricting the use and/or sale of vaporizers too much would just inhibit legitimate users to such a degree that they may not bother – and that would definitely be a negative thing.