Pubdate: Mon, 17 Sep 2018
Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN)
Copyright: 2018 Star Tribune
Author: Carla K. Johnson


A school-based survey shows nearly 1 in 11 U.S. students have used
marijuana in electronic cigarettes, heightening health concerns about
the new popularity of vaping among teens.

E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine, but many of the
battery-powered devices can vaporize other substances, including
marijuana. Results published Monday mean 2.1 million middle and high
school students have used them to get high.

Vaping is generally considered less dangerous than smoking, because
burning tobacco or marijuana generates chemicals that are harmful to
lungs. But there is little research on e-cigarettes' long-term
effects, including whether they help smokers quit.

The rise in teenagers using e-cigarettes has alarmed health officials
who worry kids will get addicted to nicotine, a stimulant, and be more
likely to try cigarettes. Last week, the Food and Drug Administration
gave the five largest e-cigarette makers 60 days to produce plans to
stop underage use of their products.

Nearly 9 percent of students surveyed in 2016 said they used an
e-cigarette device with marijuana, according to Monday's report in the
journal JAMA Pediatrics. That included one-third of those who ever
used e-cigarettes.

The number is worrying "because cannabis use among youth can adversely
affect learning and memory and may impair later academic achievement
and education," said lead researcher Katrina Trivers of the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention.

Students who said they lived with a tobacco user were more likely than
others to report vaping marijuana.

It's unclear whether marijuana vaping is increasing among teens or
holding steady. The devices have grown into a multi-billion industry,
but they are relatively new.

In states where marijuana is legal, shoppers can buy cartridges of
liquid containing THC, the chemical in marijuana that gets people
high, that work with a number of devices. Juul, by far the most
popular e-cigarette device, does not offer marijuana pods, but users
can re-fill cartridges with cannabis oil.

It was the first time a question about marijuana vaping was asked on
this particular survey, which uses a nationally representative sample
of students in public and private schools. More than 20,000 students
took the survey in 2016.

A different survey from the University of Michigan in December found
similar results when it asked for the first time about marijuana
vaping. In that study, 8 percent of 10th graders said they vaped
marijuana in the past year.

"The health risks of vaping reside not only in the vaping devices, but
in the social environment that comes with it," said University of
Michigan researcher Richard Miech. Kids who vape are more likely to
become known as drug users and make friends with drug users, he said,
adding that "hanging out with drug users is a substantial risk factor
for future drug use."