“We’re stepping backward from all the advances we’ve made in tobacco control,” one investigator said.

While most of us strive to avoid inhaling aerosols that could harbor a deadly virus, millions of teens and young adults are deliberately bathing their lungs in aerosols rich in chemicals with known or suspected health hazards.

I’m referring to vaping (or “juuling”): the use of e-cigarettes that is hooking young people on a highly addictive drug — nicotine — and will be likely to keep them hooked for decades. Meanwhile, e-cigarettes and other vaping devices are legally sold with few restrictions while producers and sellers reap the monetary rewards. Although many states prohibit e-cigarette sales to persons younger than 18 or 21, youngsters have little trouble accessing the products online or from friends and relatives.

In just one year, from 2017 to 2018, vaping by high school seniors increased more than “for any substance we’ve ever monitored in 45 years, and the next year it rose again almost as much,” said Richard Miech, principal investigator for the national survey Monitoring the Future.

By 2019, a quarter of 12th graders were vaping nicotine, nearly half of them daily. Daily vaping rose in all three grades surveyed — eighth, 10th and 12th — “with accompanying increases in the proportions of youth who are physically addicted to nicotine,” Dr. Miech and colleagues reported in The New England Journal of Medicine last year.

Read full article here.

Jane E. Brody – New York Times – November 23, 2020.

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