HealthDay News — Vaping among American teenagers increased dramatically in 2018, with nearly 2 of every 5 high school seniors reporting they had tried an electronic cigarette during the past year, according to the latest Monitoring the Future survey funded by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse.
About 37% of 12th graders said they had vaped within the previous 12 months compared with about 28% in 2017. Vaping rates also increased by about one-third in younger teens, with about 18% of eighth graders and 32% of 10th graders reporting they had tried e-cigarettes in 2018. After alcohol, vaping is the second-most common form of substance use in the United States, the survey revealed. However, marijuana use remains steady among high schoolers, with nearly 6% of 12th graders reporting daily use. For the past two decades, daily use among high school seniors has hovered between 5% and 6.6%.
The survey also showed that smoking is at an all-time low, with only about 4% of high school seniors smoking daily compared with 22% two decades ago. Prescription opioid use (such as OxyContin or Vicodin) has declined to about 3% among 12th graders. Only 1.7% of seniors reported misuse of Vicodin in the past year compared with 10% 15 years ago. Alcohol use also has declined. About 17% of high school seniors reported being drunk during the past month, down from 26% 5 years ago. Fewer teens reported binge drinking (5 or more drinks in a row). About 14% of 12th graders said they had recently engaged in binge drinking, down from 17% in 2017 and the all-time high of 31% in 1998.
“We are encouraged to see continued declines in a variety of measures of underage alcohol use,” George F. Koob, PhD, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, said in a statement. “The new data, however, underscore that far too many young people continue to drink at a time in their lives when their brains and bodies are quite vulnerable to alcohol-related harms.”