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Teens using e-cig devices not just for nicotine

Science Spotlight

August 26, 2016

Photo of e-cigs showing their varietyPhoto by ©iStock.com/kitiara65/http://istockpho.to/1SWVugO

A recent analysis of the 2015 Monitoring the Future (MTF) findings on e-cigarette use highlights uncertainty about what teens are actually inhaling when using "e-cig" devices, and at least six percent report they are using the vaporizers to inhale marijuana. The analysis was done by the University of Michigan researchers who conduct the annual MTF survey, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health.

Of the students in 8th, 10th and 12th grade who said they had ever used a vaporizer device:

  • More than 65 percent said they are vaping "just flavoring"
  • About 20 percent said they are vaping nicotine
  • About 6 percent said they are vaping marijuana
  • About 6 percent do not know what substance they last vaped

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently expanded its tobacco regulatory authority to include e-cigarettes; however the study authors concluded that:

  • Researchers and regulators should not assume all, or even most, vaporizer users inhale nicotine;
  • The public health field should question the use of the term Electronic Nicotine Delivery System to denote vaporizers and e-cigarettes, as many adolescents might not be using these devices to vape nicotine;
  • Vaporizer users can be candidates for primary prevention programs to combat nicotine and marijuana use in teens; and
  • There is a need for vaporizer-specific research to assess and regulate the public health threat of vaporizers.

While many teens do not believe they were using these vaporizers for nicotine, it is unclear if some products labeled nicotine-free actually contained nicotine. New FDA regulations will be requiring accurate labeling on e-cig products.

For a copy of the abstract, "What Are Kids Vaping?" published in Tobacco Control, go to http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/early/2016/07/21/tobaccocontrol-2016-053014.full.

For information about the 2015 Monitoring the Future survey results, go to:
https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/monitoring-future

For more information, contact the NIDA press office at media@nida.nih.gov or 301-443-6245. Follow NIDA on Twitter and Facebook.

Contact:
NIDA Press Office
301-443-6245
media@nida.nih.gov

About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance addiction science. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found at www.drugabuse.gov, which is now compatible with your smartphone, iPad or tablet. To order publications in English or Spanish, call NIDA’s DrugPubs research dissemination center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH or 240-645-0228 (TDD) or email requests to drugpubs@nida.nih.gov. Online ordering is available at drugpubs.drugabuse.gov. NIDA’s media guide can be found at www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/dear-journalist, and its easy-to-read website can be found at www.easyread.drugabuse.gov. You can follow NIDA on Twitter and Facebook.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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    NIDA. (2016, August 26). Teens using e-cig devices not just for nicotine. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2016/08/teens-using-e-cig-devices-not-just-nicotine

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