Teens Who Vape Are More Likely to Binge Drink And Use Cannabis: Study

Researchers found that teens who vape are 20 times more likely to smoke marijuana than those that do not.

Researchers from Columbia University warn that teens who vape are more likely than their peers to smoke marijuana, binge drink and engage in other risky behaviors.

In findings published this month in the medical journal Substance Use & Misuse, researchers analyzed data from the Monitoring the Future survey from the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse study, which included information from nearly 52,000 teens ages 13 to 18 in the United States in grades 8, 10, and 12 from 2017 to 2019.

The study assessed links between nicotine use in the past 30 days, cannabis use and binge drinking. The researchers found a strong link between nicotine use and both marijuana use and binge drinking.

Vaping Associated with Teen Marijuana Use, Binge Drinking

According to the findings, teens who used nicotine, either via vaping or smoking cigarettes, had a higher likelihood of smoking weed and binge drinking. This was especially true among teens who had the highest use levels of nicotine for either vaping or smoking.

Teens who vaped in the 30 days before the study were 20 times more likely to smoke weed and six times more likely to have engaged in binge drinking on multiple occasions within the past two weeks.

The research indicates teens who smoked and vaped nicotine in the 30 days prior had the most risk, facing 36 times higher odds of having more than 10 binge drinking instances in the past two weeks compared to teens who didn’t use nicotine at all. However, researchers said it was difficult to determine if vaping increased a teen’s likelihood of using other substances or if teens who used other substances were also more likely to vape.

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Another study published in 2021 indicated that teens who vape are also more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors, such as drinking alcohol before intercourse, not using a condom during sex, or having multiple partners at an early age.

Teen Vaping Risks

Vaping and marijuana use carry significant risks for teens on their own. Teens who vape ingest as much nicotine as tobacco cigarette smokers. This alone increases a teen’s risk of smoking tobacco cigarettes later.

While the full extent of side effects linked to vaping may not be apparent for decades, studies indicate vaping increases the risk teens will suffer from asthma and other respiratory conditions, like bronchitis, they are more likely to develop blood clots, suffer long-term lung damage, and it may even lead to lack of sleep.

Researchers warn the findings of the new study highlight a need for focused nicotine interventions for teens, advertising and promotion restrictions, and national public education efforts to reduce teen vaping and other nicotine use.


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