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It seems there’s always some kind of substance that the teens of our times are turning to: cigarettes, marijuana, etc. But according to the results of a study that were recently released, this generation of American teens are turning to a different drug of choice – vaping. 

A Monitoring the Future survey released in early 2019 (that took a look at eighth, 10th, and 12th graders across the country) reported that in 2018, the US saw a dramatic rise in teen vaping. In fact, the number of teens vaping in the United States actually doubled over the course of the year, going from 11 percent in 2017 to about 20.9 percent in 2018. 

In other words, the United States is seeing a shocking increase in the rise of nicotine usage due to vaping devices. This is, without question, an alarming and surprising increase. The results of this study show that not only are older teens frequently turning to vaping, younger children – children early in their adolescence – are turning toward vaping, too. 

Vaping Dramatically Increases in Adolescents 

Eighth graders, 10th graders, and 12th graders were studied in this report between January 2017 and January 2018. In that time, about 11 percent of 12th graders reported vaping, 8.2 percent of 10th graders reporting vaping. 

The results now? About 21 percent amongst 12th graders. In other words, the amount of teenagers vaping has doubled. That’s a dramatic spike. But the differences don’t just lie there, the numbers dramatically increased amongst 10th graders, too, climbing from 8.2 percent to 16.1 percent. 

What’s even more telling of the vaping epidemic, younger teens – even children – are beginning to vape, too, according to a study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine. In fact, about 1 out of every 10 of the eighth-graders in this study reported they had vaped at least once within the last year. 

According to the Monitoring the Future, these are the largest single-year increases of any one substance in the history of Monitoring the Future surveys. 

What This Study Brings to Light 

This study sheds light on classic teenage trends of falling victim to nicotine and leaning into rebellion, but with a modern twist. Vaping does its part to bring back the iconic glamour of smoking that teens in the 20th century knew. 

The difference?  Vaping is far less stigmatized than smoking cigarettes in our modern era – it’s often considered as a smoking cessation device despite the lack of efficacy studies available just yet. Even further, vaping has an entire culture that intertwines seamlessly – vaping culture, Juul glamorization, and the infinite vaping flavors all contribute to the vaping ethos. 

What else was discovered through this Monitoring the Future survey? More teenagers are reporting marijuana vaping than the year before, jumping from 9.5 percent of 12th graders studied in 2017 to about 13.1 percent of 12th graders studied in 2018. 

The results of this study are incredibly telling – the US will likely continue to see a rise in vaping amongst adolescents and teens unless further actions are taken to keep nicotine out of the hands of adolescents and teens.

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