A new study published in the JAMA Journal of Pediatrics addressed a link between electronic cigarette use and marijuana use among young people. The study, titled Association Between Electronic Cigarette Use and Marijuana Use Among Adolescents and Young Adults, conducted a systemic review and meta analysis of the odds of past or current marijuana use among youths using e-cigarettes.
The study researched pre-existing studies assessing youth ages 10 to 24 and found that youth were 3.5 times more likely to vape marijuana.
The study ultimately found that its findings “suggest that clinical and regulatory approaches to managing e-cigarette use among youth amid the current trend of marijuana legalization should consider the significant association between e-cigarette and marijuana use.”
The study’s lead author, Dr. Nicholas Chadi stated, “Adolescents have a brain that’s still changing and developing.” He added that exposure of addictive substances, such a nicotine, to a young brain “tends to be sensitized to other substances; it tends to seek thrilling, rewarding sensation. And so other substances like marijuana become more appealing.”
Concerning the study’s results, Chadi also shared with CNN that the link suggests “e-cigarettes really need to be considered in the broad category of addictive and harmful substances,” and “We can’t think of e-cigarettes as a less-harmful alternative to cigarettes with adolescents.” This is partly because “just like cigarettes, e-cigarettes increase your risk of using marijuana, and marijuana, we know, has several implications and negative health consequences in adolescents.”
Other reports indicate that there are consequences associated with vaping, and teens appears to be a particularly vulnerable population. A recent article by CBS news noted the teens are being hospitalized and treated for severe lung damage, which appears to be from vaping.
Dr. Diana Zuckerman, the President of the National Center for Health Research, stated in the article,
“It’s mind-boggling. The vast majority of people who smoke started as children or as young teens, and yet you don’t hear about people getting lung cancer until their 40s, 50s, 60s,”
she said. “Think about that compared to what’s happening to these kids now. I’ve never heard of a smoker ending up in the hospital in their teens.” She also shared that “We don’t know yet what the symptoms might be” concerning e-cigarettes and vapes, and that the main focus is lung damage, all the while there is a lot more going on.