Dripping’ may be a new, dangerous trend for teens who vape

Ryan W. Miller , USA TODAY

One in four high school teens who have used e-cigarettes have also tried a potentially dangerous new vaping method called “dripping” — dropping e-cigarette liquid directly onto the hot coils of the device to produce thicker, more flavorful smoke — a new study found.

“Dripping,” which differs from normal e-cigarette use that slowly releases the liquid from a wick onto a hot atomizer, may expose users to higher levels of nicotine and to harmful non-nicotine toxins, such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde — known carcinogens.

Sixty-four percent of the surveyed teens said they dripped for the thicker smoke, 39% for the better flavor and 28% for the stronger throat hit or sensation, according to the study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

“When people smoke cigarettes, they say they smoke it for, for lack of a better word, a tingling in the back of the throat,” said Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, the study’s lead author and a Yale professor of psychiatry who studies substance abuse behaviors.

Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated devices that heat liquid and turn it into vapor — instead of smoke — which a person inhales. One of the primary concerns about e-cigarette use in teens is increased exposure to nicotine, Krishnan-Sarin said. E-cigarette liquids can contain varying levels of nicotine, and dripping could expose teens to higher levels of the drug, the study states.

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