By Dennis Thompson
THURSDAY, Dec. 14, 2017 (HealthDay Information) — Whereas fewer American teenagers are lighting up cigarettes, extra of them are vaping as an alternative, a brand new report exhibits.
On the similar time, marijuana use has held regular because it stays extra common than cigarettes and, in a bit of fine information, misuse of opioid painkillers like OxyContin has truly dropped amongst adolescents.
In 2017, greater than 1 in four highschool seniors stated they’ve vaped throughout the previous 12 months — and most apparently do not know they’re toying with a doubtlessly addictive product.
Practically 28 p.c of 12th graders reported attempting an e-cigarette or different vaping machine in 2016, in accordance with outcomes from the 2017 Monitoring the Future survey, sponsored by the U.S. Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
However when requested what they’d inhaled whereas vaping, about 52 p.c of highschool seniors responded “simply flavoring.” Solely 33 p.c stated they’d inhaled vapor that incorporates nicotine.
“They do not even understand that what they’re utilizing is a tobacco product,” stated Erika Sward, assistant vice chairman of the American Lung Affiliation.
E-cigarettes include fewer dangerous chemical substances than conventional tobacco merchandise, and may show helpful in serving to adults stop smoking, stated NIDA Deputy Director Dr. Wilson Compton.
However “that is a really completely different story whenever you’re speaking about youths who could not have used some other tobacco product,” Compton identified. “As an alternative of this being a tradeoff, this might be an entree into what we all know generally is a lifelong, terribly dangerous behavior. Children that begin with vaping do transition to smoked tobacco extra typically than those that’ve by no means used e-cigarettes.”
Sward stated the survey outcomes “actually underscore why aggressive motion from the [U.S.] Meals and Drug Administration is required” relating to regulation of e-cigarettes.
However the FDA introduced in July that it could delay its assessment of vaping merchandise which are already available on the market for one more 5 years, Sward famous.
“That delay of 5 years actually locks in the entire merchandise which are at the moment available on the market which have flavorings and attraction to youngsters,” Sward stated. “[The] FDA’s choice to delay true oversight goes to have important penalties.”
The survey had extra constructive information when it got here to teen smoking and prescription painkiller abuse.
Simply over four p.c of highschool seniors reported smoking cigarettes every day, down greater than 24 p.c from 1997, the survey confirmed.
The lower in teen cigarette smoking is “a outstanding public well being story over the past 20 years. In a single era, we have had simply a huge effect,” Compton stated.
Nonetheless, extra 12th graders now report day by day marijuana use (virtually 6 p.c) than tobacco smoking, the survey discovered.
However teenagers are dipping into prescription ache drugs a lot much less typically. Previous-year misuse declined to simply over four p.c, down from a peak of 9.5 p.c in 2004.
The lower in painkiller abuse doubtless is tied to the general response to America’s opioid disaster, Compton stated. Fewer opioid prescriptions are being written in an effort to stem the tide of abuse that has claimed 1000’s of lives, and which means there are fewer capsules out there for misuse.
There’s proof within the survey to help this principle. Solely 36 p.c of highschool seniors stated these medicine are simply out there, in comparison with greater than 54 p.c in 2010.
Marijuana use is about the identical because it was in 2015, with round 24 p.c of youngsters attempting pot not less than as soon as inside the previous 12 months, the survey revealed.
This will not appear to be a win, nevertheless it truly is, Compton stated. There’s been no improve in teenagers utilizing pot, although marijuana legalization is spreading state-by-state throughout the nation.
“Regardless of very permissive attitudes by youth and a scarcity of concern in regards to the harms of marijuana, the charges actually have not gone up,” Compton stated. “The actual fact they have not gone up is a little bit of a shock for many of us.”
There’s additionally been a leveling off in binge ingesting — having 5 or extra drinks in a row inside the previous two weeks, the survey confirmed.
Total, greater than 43,700 college students participated on this 12 months’s survey, which since 1975 has measured how teenagers report their drug, alcohol and cigarette use.