While the US has been focused on the on-going opiate epidemic, another addiction has overtaken American youth: vaping.
Vaping, or the use of an electronic cigarette that mimics traditional smoking, has been increasing among teens in the US. A liquid, typically containing nicotine but can also include hash or marijuana, is heated to generate a vapor, which is inhaled. While cigarette and other drug addiction have plateaued or begun to decline, vaping addiction has been on the rise.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse recently funded a survey looking at rates of vaping amongst teens. It found that there was a dramatic increase in the number of teens using these devices. 27.8-37.3% of 12th-graders reported “any vaping” in the last 12 months. These numbers are concerning as vaping can normalize drug behavior and increase the risk of substance abuse in the future. The teen brain is still developing, which also poses additional risks.
Vaping became a popular alternative to smoking a few years ago. Originally, it was conceived as a slightly healthier alternative for those with nicotine addictions. The nicotine vapor was less harmful on the lungs than traditional cigarettes. However, many vaping companies began selling flavored tobacco and marketed towards teens. Now teens, some of which have never smoked a traditional cigarette, report vaping addiction.
Juul, the most popular vaping company, is currently under investigation for potentially marketing to teens. As a result, they’ve stopped the sale of their flavored tobacco pods. There are also talks of increasing the legal age of tobacco from 18 to 21 to stop teens from abusing it.
While vaping addition is still relatively new, and growing quickly, it appears the government is paying attention, which is good news. They are working hard to address issues and concerns. If your teen is struggling with drug addiction or a vaping addiction please contact us right away. It’s important to address this before it’s too late.