Teens who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to try marijuana in the future, especially if they start vaping at a younger age, according to new study of more than 10,000 teens, HealthDay reports.
Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, often referred to as vapor, produced by an e-cigarette or similar device.
The survey found that more than 1 in 4 teenagers who reported using e-cigarettes eventually progressed to smoking marijuana, compared with just 8 percent for their non-vaping counterparts. It also found that that 12- to 14-year-olds who had tried e-cigarettes were 2.5 times more likely to become heavy marijuana users, smoking marijuana at least once a week. Further, the survey showed that teens who started vaping early had a greater risk of subsequent marijuana use.
“Our findings suggest that the widespread use of e-cigarettes among youth may have implications for uptake of other drugs of abuse beyond nicotine and tobacco products,” said lead researcher Hongying Dai, Senior Biostatistician with Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. “The brain is still developing during the teen years; nicotine exposure might lead to changes in the central nervous system that predisposes teens to dependence on other drugs of abuse. It’s also possible that experimenting with e-cigarettes might increase a teen’s curiosity about marijuana and reduce any worries about marijuana use.”
For the study, Dai and her colleagues twice surveyed 10,364 kids aged 12 to 17 – once in 2013-2014, and again a year later.
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