U.S. Teen Vaping Rates Are Leveling Off But Still High
After years of increases, nicotine and marijuana vaping among U.S. teens plateaued this year, but still they remain high, researchers report.
Data from the most recent annual Monitoring the Future survey, conducted by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, show that from 2017 to 2019, the percentage of teens who said they vaped nicotine in the past 12 months doubled: 7.5% to 16.5% among eighth graders; from 15.8% to 30.7%, among 10th graders; and from 18.8% to 35.3% among 12th graders.
In 2020, rates held steady at 16.6%, 30.7% and 34.5%, respectively. And between 2019 and 2020, daily or near daily (20 occasions in the past 30 days) nicotine vaping fell from 6.8% to 3.6% among 10th graders and from 11.6% to 5.3% among 12th graders, the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-funded survey found.
"The rapid rise of teen nicotine vaping in recent years has been unprecedented and deeply concerning since we know that nicotine is highly addictive and can be delivered at high doses by vaping devices, which may also contain other toxic chemicals that may be harmful when inhaled," NIDA Director Nora Volkow said in an agency news release.
"It is encouraging to see a leveling off of this trend, though the rates still remain very high," she added.
The survey also found that after a twofold increase over the past two years, rates of past-year vaping of marijuana also remained steady in 2020: 8.1% of eighth graders; 19.1% of 10th graders, and 22.1% of 12th graders.
Daily marijuana vaping fell by more than half from 2019, to 1.1% among 10th graders and 1.5% among 12th graders in 2020.
Another finding from the survey was a large drop from 2019 to 2020 in the use of Juul vaping devices among teens in the two higher grades. Past 12-month use of the devices decreased from 28.7% to 20% among 10th graders, and from 28.4% to 22.7% among 12th graders.
There's been little change in alcohol use or cigarette use in recent years. Past year non-medical use of amphetamines among eighth graders increased from 3.5% in 2017 to 5.3% in 2020, but there were recent lows in past year use among 10th and 12th graders, 4.3% for both, and significant five-year declines.
Past 12-month use of inhalants increased from 3.8% to 6.1% among eighth graders between 2016 and 2020. There was an all-time low use of inhalants among 12th graders.
Past-year use of other drugs remains relatively low among 12th graders: 3.9% for LSD; 2.4% for synthetic cannabinoids; 2.9% for cocaine; 1.8% for MDMA (ecstasy); 1.4% for methamphetamine, and 0.3% for heroin.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on vaping.
SOURCE: U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, news release, Dec. 15, 2020
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