To Your Health
October, 2019 (Vol. 13, Issue 10)
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Vaping Leads to Marijuana, Leads to...?

By Editorial Staff

The Vaping Delusion of the 21st century is rapidly revealing itself as eerily similar to the Cigarette Delusion of the mid-20th century. If you're old enough to have been through both, you know what we mean. For those who aren't, here it is in a nutshell: Create an addictive product with suspicious (or at least unknown) health risks; market it as "cool" or otherwise desirable; make it appealing to just about everyone; and ignore, downright hide or downplay the health risks once they're revealed.

The research and real-life experiences are building a case against vaping every day, but unfortunately, many people – and for the purpose of today's discussion, we'll focus on children – are already addicted. Beyond the potential health consequences of vaping alone, another concern is that vaping may increase the likelihood of moving on to cigarette smoking ... or something else.

Case in point: Researchers have linked teen vaping to marijuana use, finding in a large analysis of 21 previously published studies involving nearly 130,000 participants (ages 10-24) that e-cigarette users are 3.5 times more likely to also use marijuana. Teen vapers (ages 12-17) were the most likely to also use marijuana: 4.3 times more likely than non-vapers. Vaping in combination with cigarette smoking (which have also been linked) also increased the likelihood of marijuana use. The analysis appears in JAMA Pediatrics,  a journal of the American Medical Association dedicated to pediatric research.

The researchers also make an important point that emphasizes the scope of the problem: The human brain is still developing when we're young, making adolescents and teens more vulnerable to addiction compared to adults. That may explain why most post substance-abuse disorders take root before the age of 18. It's time to reconsider vaping ... before it becomes something worse.