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Wellness

Teenage vaping has more than doubled since 2017, study says

Data shows more students are vaping despite e-cigarette health scares.

Vape Jam UK 2019

Teen vaping has more than doubled over the last couple of years, a study shows.

John Keeble / Getty Images

Vaping, once thought to be a safer alternative to smoking, has had a consistent spot in news coverage over the past year because of growing health concerns. Bolstering those concerns, the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday published results of a study that found nicotine vaping among teens more than doubled between 2017 and 2019.

One in four 12th graders surveyed in 2019 by the team from the Universities of Michigan and Minnesota had vaped nicotine in the prior month. About one in five 10th graders and one in 11 eighth graders had also used e-cigarettes in the prior 30 days, researchers found. The team surveyed 42,531 students in 8th, 10th and 12th grade in 2019. 

By comparison, in 2017, about 11% of 12th graders, 8% of 10th graders and 3.5% of 8th graders had vaped in the prior 30 days, the research showed.

"New efforts are needed to protect youth from using nicotine during adolescence, when the developing brain is particularly susceptible to permanent changes from nicotine use and when almost all nicotine addiction is established," the researchers said in the study. 

The Food and Drug Administration announced a criminal probe into vaping Thursday as the lung illnesses linked to vaping rose to 530. To date, eight people have died. Earlier this month, the FDA called teen use of e-cigarettes an "epidemic."  

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