Last week, the University of Michigan released a study finding past 30 day THC vaping by US college students more than doubled from 5.2% in 2017 to 10.9% in 2018.
“This doubling in vaping marijuana among college students is one of the greatest one-year proportional increases we have seen among the multitude of substances we measure since the study began over 40 years ago,” said John Schulenberg, principal investigator of the Monitoring the Future Panel Study.
This new study is consistent with CDC National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) data finding that the proportion of 6-12 grade students who reported ever vaping THC increased from 8.6% in 2016 to 13.8% in 2018. Another recent study found that 73% of Arizona teens who reported ever using marijuana reported vaping THC.
Why does this matter?
Not all adolescents who report “vaping” are using nicotine-containing products, but you wouldn’t know that from listening to federal and state officials.
Indeed, it appears to be the policy of both the FDA and CDC to count any youth who reports “past 30-day” use of e-cigarettes in the annual NYTS to be both a “nicotine user” and a “tobacco user.” In doing so, government officials are knowingly and intentionally misclassifying adolescents who vape THC, CBD, and other substances.
If recent serious lung illnesses linked to illicit THC cartridges have taught us anything, it should be that what substance someone is vaping matters. But for the CDC and FDA, this policy to classify all vaping use as “nicotine use” is likely to continue unabated.
Thanks to Bill Godshall of Smokefree Pennsylvania for flagging this study.