A recent survey shows that one in five teens uses e-cigarettes as devices to smoke marijuana. And, parents and educators may have no idea about it.
The survey revealed that nearly 18 percent of high school students had at least once “vaped” pot, or used an e-cigarette to get the highly addictive substance into their bodies. Moreover, more than 25 percent of common e-cigarette smokers have reported using the devices to vape marijuana.
The study, which was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, didn’t reveal how exactly teens use the battery-powered devices to smoke weed, neither does it suggest that some e-cigarette users use the devices to get high as a habit.
Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, lead author of the study and behavioral expert at Yale University School of Medicine, said that she and her colleagues were intrigued by several teens who told them they can use the devices to vape marijuana, during a previous investigation into e-cigarette use.
Researchers acknowledged that they couldn’t learn for sure whether the study participants who reported using e-cigarettes as devices to smoke pot were at their first try or they routinely did it.
“There’s so much more about this that’s unknown than is known,”
Ms. Krishnan-Sarin added.
In the last couple of years, e-cigarette use among high school students more than tripled. According to the study’s background information, over 13 percent of these students switched to e-cigarettes.
Two years ago, study authors learned from various sources that more and more students use the devices to smoke marijuana. In order to see whether the rumor was real, the team surveyed nearly 4,000 high schoolers from five institutions in Connecticut. According to the findings, male and younger students were more prone to use e-cigs to get high than female and older students.
Sean Clarkin, head of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, said that he had never heard of the practice before reading the study. He also said that the findings were “alarming.” Researchers believe that the findings clearly suggest that e-cigarettes need tighter regulations especially among teens.
As of now, there aren’t federal regulations for the devices although the Food and Drug Administration expressed its plans to regulate the devices. Ms. Krishnan-Sarin explained that teens wouldn’t be able to vape pot through their e-cigarettes if the devices were built in a way that they couldn’t be repurposed.
But representatives of the American Vaping Association believe that more regulations would not make the problem go away.
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