Tuesday, October 01, 2019

The “Other” Youth Vaping Epidemic: Why Has It Been Ignored?

While the CDC and many health groups have been obsessed with youth e-cigarette use, an even more troubling epidemic has been spreading among our nation’s youth. In contrast to the e-cigarette use explosion, which has not caused any significant disease or deaths, this other, ignored epidemic has caused hundreds of youth to develop life-threatening respiratory failure and has been responsible for 13 deaths.

What is this “other” vaping epidemic?

It’s not vaping of e-cigarettes. It’s the vaping of marijuana.

In my analysis of data from the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey, I found that the majority of youth who currently use e-cigarettes also report having vaped marijuana or THC vape cartridges.

  • Of ever e-cigarette users, 41.8% report having vaped marijuana or THC.
  • Of current e-cigarette users (those who used in the past 30 days), 51.9% report having vaped marijuana or THC.
  • Of regular e-cigarette users (those who used at least 10 days in the past 30 days), 63.1% report having vaped marijuana or THC.
  • Of heavy and potentially addicted e-cigarette users (those who used every day in the past 30 days), 66.8% report having vaped marijuana or THC.
While the CDC and many state health departments have focused on the fact that many youth are vaping e-cigarettes with “kid-friendly” flavors, they have all overlooked the fact that the majority of these youth are also vaping marijuana vape carts or vape pens with even more “kid-friendly” flavors, including:
  •          "Apple Jacks,"
  •          "Banana OG,"
  •          "Birthday Cake,"
  •          "Black Berry Kush,"
  •          "Blue Dream,"
  •          "Blueberry Kush,"
  •          "Bubble Gum,"
  •          "Candy Land,"
  •          "Cherry Pie,"
  •          "Cotton Candy,"
  •          "Fruity Pebbles,"
  •          "Gelato,"
  •          "Grape Ape,"
  •          "Grape Stomper,"
  •          "Green Crack,"
  •          "Honey Berry,"
  •          "Honey Dew,"
  •          "Ice Blue Raspberry,"
  •          "Key Lime Pie,"
  •          "Lemon Berry,"
  •          "Lemon Head,"
  •          "Lemon Slushie,"
  •          "LSD,"
  •          "Mai Tai,"
  •          "Mango Kush,"
  •          "Maui Wowie,"
  •          "Mimosa,"
  •          "Mojito,"
  •          "Orange Chai,"
  •          "Orange Cookies,"
  •          "Orange Daiquiri,"
  •          "Peach,"
  •          "Pineapple Express,"
  •          "Pot of Gold,"
  •          "Purple Punch,"
  •          "Rose Gold,"
  •          "Russian Cream,"
  •          "Sour Apple,"
  •          "Strawberry Shortcake,"
  •          "Sweet Aromatic,"
  •          "Tangie,"
  •          "Vanilla Kush,"
  •          "Water Melon,"
  •          "Wedding Cake," and
  •          "Zskittlez."
In fact, this year, marijuana use among college-age students reached a 35-year high! According to an article in The Hill: “43 percent of full-time college students ages 19-22 reported using marijuana at least once in the previous 12 months. One-quarter of students reported using marijuana at least once in the last 30 days.” Both “the annual and 30-day "prevalence levels" are at historic highs since 1983.”

"In particular, there was a dramatic increase in marijuana vaping during the past year: “The number of students who said they vaped marijuana in the last 30 days rose by 5.7 percentage points between 2017 and 2018, according to the study, with 5.2 percent of college students saying they vaped marijuana in 2017 compared with 10.9 percent of students who said the same in 2018. ‘This doubling in vaping marijuana among college students is one of the greatest one-year proportional increases we have seen among the multitude of substances we measure since the study began over 40 years ago,’ said John Schulenberg, principal investigator of the Monitoring the Future Panel Study."

So while anti-nicotine groups obsess over cotton candy and bubble gum e-cigarettes, they have paid no attention to cotton candy and bubble gum THC vape carts, which are in fact far more dangerous.

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