Is teen vaping a gateway to cannabis use?
A recent report is raising questions over whether teen vaping can lead to marijuana use later in life.
Findings from the Centers for Disease Control found that 1 in 9 high school students said they had vaped in the past month. And research from a recent study published in the JAMA Network Open found that adolescents who use e-cigarettes are over three times more likely to move on to marijuana.
Dr. David Fagan, vice chair of pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, told FOX 5 NY he isn’t surprised, as he says kids have more access than ever before.
"Now we’re saying nicotine may be the gateway which hits pleasure-seeking areas of the brain which then you’ll say ‘I’ll try cannabis’," Dr. Fagan said. "As more states legalize the recreational use of marijuana there’s this idea it’s safe and harmless."
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But doctors and drug experts say it’s the opposite, especially for teens whose brains aren’t fully developed.
Other findings from the study show that more than 1 in 10 youths who say they have never used cannabis go on to do so within a year.
"A lot of adults think vaping is a way to quit smoking," said Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, President and CEO of Family and Children’s Association. "We know when it comes to young people vaping tobacco is the training wheels before they move on to marijuana."
According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, the rates of vaping amongst teens in 2020 and 21 have actually fallen from the peak in 2019.
"Is it due to COVID, is it due to everybody in lockdown," he said. "We have to see what happens going forward."
People we spoke with say vaping has become all too common and casual.
According to experts, adolescents who vape could be more likely to be friends with kids who engage in risky behaviors and make poor decisions.