How Teenage Vaping Puts Structure in Place for Heroin and Cocaine Addiction

THE RAPID ADOPTION OF E-CIGARETTES HAS BEEN DRIVEN, AT LEAST IN PART, BY A HUGE JUMP IN THE POTENCY OF E-LIQUIDS.

By Indra Cidambi, M.D.
U.S. News & World Report

CIGARETTE SMOKING AMONG teenagers is on the wane. While data show smoking among teenagers has dropped over the past few years, it’s not all good news. Teenagers are vaping nicotine instead. One in 8 – or 12 percent of – teenagers in New Jersey have tried e-cigarettes and/or hookah at least once. When cigarette smoking and nicotine vaping are added together, nicotine use may actually have increased. The rapid adoption of e-cigarettes has been driven, at least in part, by the huge jump in the potency of e-liquids (both nicotine and marijuana) used in vapes. Nicotine and marijuana act on the brain in ways similar to other substances of abuse and prime the brain for addiction to other potent drugs down the road.

Exponential Jump in E-Liquid Potency

Part of the reason for the adoption of e-cigarettes by teenagers is the exponential jump in the potency of e-liquids (nicotine and marijuana) used in vapes. E-liquid products like JUUL contain nearly 50 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter of liquid, whereas a cigarette has about 12 milligrams of nicotine. THC content in liquid concentrates, used in vapes, can range between 50 and 90 percent, as compared to 20 percent in marijuana. Vaping high-concentration marijuana can deliver a more intense high, but it can also lead to addiction.

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