If you have a teenager, you’ve probably heard about the dangers of vaping electronic cigarettes among teens, and about its huge popularity with high school students. Vaping has become so popular among middle and high school students that the FDA recently gave the major electronic cigarette companies just 60 days to prove they can keep their products out of the hands of minors. But last week, a new report by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) revealed that vaping is leading to another huge problem among teens: one in eleven middle and high school students surveyed admitted to vaping marijuana.
One in eleven!! That is a huge number—and that is how many admitted to vaping marijuana. Imagine the number of teens who took the survey who were not truthful. It is not very scientific of me to say this, but in life I’ve generally found that the number of people who admit to doing something wrong is far smaller than the number of people who have actually done something wrong. So I do have fears that the number of teens vaping marijuana are quite a bit higher.
Vaping marijuana is harmful for young brains
An article by the Associated Press reporting the study findings quoted lead researcher Katrina Trivers of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as to why the number of teens vaping marijuana is so concerning. “Cannabis use among youth can adversely affect learning and memory and may impair later academic achievement and education,” she said.
As the JAMA study was done on both middle school and high school students, I find the high numbers of teenagers vaping marijuana to be very concerning indeed. The AP also reports that the survey’s findings were corroborated by a similar study done by the University of Michigan on 10th graders. A full 8% of 10th grade students surveyed said they also were guilty of vaping marijuana.
Vaping marijuana leads to other high-risk behaviors
University of Michigan researcher Richard Miech explains that the chemicals in marijuana aren’t the only bad things about vaping it. “The health risks of vaping reside not only in the vaping devices, but in the social environment that comes with it,” he said. He added that teens who vape in general, even if they are only using nicotine products, are more likely to become and make friends with drug users, and he says, “hanging out with drug users is a substantial risk factor for future drug use.”
Talk to your kids about vaping marijuana
Obviously, since vaping is so prevalent among teens, parents need to talk to their children about vaping and the health risks that it poses. But while you’re at it, make sure to throw in information about all illegal drugs as well. Caution your children never to accept a vaping device from someone else, because they never know what’s actually in that pod. Reiterate to them that one bad choice, that being afraid to say “no,” could lead them down a road that they never dreamed they would be on with drugs. Though many people see marijuana as harmless, when used illegally and just to get high, there is simply no benefit to marijuana—and there’s definitely no benefit to your underage child using it.
Moms and dads, the JAMA study reveals that vaping marijuana among teens is a huge problem in our country. Is your child one in 11? It’s time to have a serious talk with them so that if they are not, then they won’t become one of the rising numbers of their peers who are vaping marijuana. It is on you to have these hard talks with your kids, and I urge you to do so soon.