A new study from researchers at the University of California indicates that the use of e-cigarettes and marijuana may go together, especially for underage smokers. There has been a significant increase in the use of both products.
More Underage Users
The study used data from 2017 to 2018, analyzing it for pot and e-cigarette use among age groups. According to the information, use of e-cigarettes had gone up by 48 percent among those between 18 and 25 years of age. For the same age group, marijuana use went up by almost 20 percent. Smoking traditional cigarettes didn’t show any significant change, but it had been declining for the past ten years.
The data showed that over one-third of users in the studied age group used at least one of the tree products. Coming in third was tobacco cigarettes with just over 300,000. More than twice that number used e-cigarettes, while 1.3 million used marijuana.
Flavored e-cigarettes where the most popular among users with 4 out of 5 choosing products that had flavors. Two out of five used menthol-flavored products. Another concerning statistics was that almost half of e-cigarette users were between 18 and 20 with 40 percent of pot smokers in that age range.
Experts advocate for enforcement of current laws and more education to raise awareness and encourage quitting. They also say the products need to be made less desirable and acceptable while reducing accessibility.
Targeting a Younger Audience
Many manufacturers have created an image of e-cigarette users, making it look cool and trendy by the design of the products and ads. For instance, the JUUL vaping device looks like a flash drive. It’s discreet and stylish, which can enhance the image of vaping as trendy. Because of the small size, the device is easy to hide.
JUUL and other manufacturers of e-cigarettes have come under serious scrutiny with the rise of underage vaping. While they claim their products are intended only for adult cigarette smokers who want an alternative, they hold a strong appeal to young adults and teens. In fact, the sale of flavored products has been banned in the US in an attempt to stop the alarming trend of vaping for this age group.
As the experts have indicated, steps should be taken to curb this trend. Current methods haven’t been working well. In the past year, vaping has been linked to a lung illness that claimed the lives of people of all ages and caused many others to become seriously ill.
Even as these deaths made the news and agencies recommended not to vape, many users failed to heed the warnings. They continue to purchase products, including disposable vaping pods that haven’t been regulated. New methods are needed to prohibit access to these products. As this study indicates, the danger may go beyond underage users who try e-cigarettes to them trying other products. It may even become more serious than just smoking pot to trying other products that are addictive and dangerous.