More American youth than ever are so addicted to e-cigarettes that they vape within 5 minutes of waking up in the morning, a new analysis shows.
While that percentage was around just 1% in 2017, it increased every year after that. It reached 10.3% by 2021, researchers reported.
“The increasing intensity of use of modern e-cigarettes highlights the clinical need to address youth addiction to these new high-nicotine products over the course of many clinical encounters,” senior study author Dr. Jonathan Winickoff said in a Massachusetts General Hospital news release. He is a pediatrician at the hospital and a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.
In the study, the researchers culled data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, which looks at tobacco use among middle and high school students.
The survey for 2022 found about 2.5 million adolescents used e-cigarettes, with 27.6% of adolescents using the devices daily. That was compared to 2.1 million and 24.7% in 2021.
Not only that, but the age at which youths started using e-cigarettes dropped between 2014 and 2021 by 1.9 months per year, the researchers added.
The intensity at which youths use the products and their addiction to them increased after companies began using protonated nicotine, which is created by adding acid to the e-cigarette liquid, according to the study. This makes the nicotine easier to inhale.
Between 2014 and 2018, median e-cigarette use was three to five days per month. That grew to six to nine days per month in 2019-2020 and 10 to 19 days per month in 2021.
The findings were published Monday in the journal JAMA Network Open.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on electronic cigarettes.
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