Yep, Teens Are Still Into Vaping Weed

Two studies published Wednesday show an increase in THC vaping among young people, despite health warnings from the CDC.
Hannah Smothers
Brooklyn, US
Two studies published in JAMA show an increase in teens vaping marijuana
Martin Diego Honrado / EyeEm via Getty

According to two new studies published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, more teens are vaping marijuana than in the last two years, despite trend pieces that declare teens think vapes are “over.”

One study, using data from the Monitoring the Future Survey, focused strictly on vaping, and asked students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grade about the number of days in the past 30 days they vaped marijuana. The other focused on students between 6th and 12th grade, and asked more broadly if they’d ever used marijuana in an e-cigarette. Both studies found that more teens now say they’re putting weed into their e-cigs and/or vapes, but the first included the second-largest, single-year substance increase ever reported by the Monitoring the Future Survey. It’s beat only by the increase in nicotine vaping between 2017–2018.

The first study notes that the increase for “past 30-day use” (meaning how many days out of the past 30 someone vaped weed) between 2018–2019 among 12th graders is especially significant: While 7.5 percent of 12th graders said they’d vaped marijuana in the past 30 days in 2018, that figure nearly doubled to 14 percent in 2019.

Across-the-board increases in teens vaping marijuana aren’t necessarily surprising (the number of teens who say they vape has gone up every year, for the past few years), but are perhaps a bit alarming, given the CDC’s focus on THC as the prime suspect behind vaping- and e-cig-related lung injuries (what we’re now calling EVALI, which loosely stands for “e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury). In November, after months of investigation, the CDC announced that vitamin E acetate, commonly found in THC vape products, is a “potential chemical of concern.” Nothing has been totally ruled out yet, but THC-containing products made by Dank Vapes, TKO, Smart Cart and Rove appear to be the most common culprits for the illness that’s landed more than 2,400 people across the country in the hospital. The CDC maintains that other brands may be implicated, and still recommends avoiding the use of any e-cig or vaping products.

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