Public health officials continue to decry the increase in vaping as a gateway habit to smoking and the use of other drugs, but a new study suggests that our nation’s youngest vapers are mostly inhaling fumes that taste like strawberry-shortcake ice cream or blue razzle berry, whatever that is.
Substance-abuse researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a nationwide survey and found that, of the 3,800 middle and high school students who said they vaped, two-thirds of them said they vaped “just flavoring.” About 20 percent of tenth and 12th graders had used nicotine (that figure 13 percent among eighth graders) and only 7 percent of all students had vaped marijuana oil. Roughly 10 percent said they didn’t know.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration categorizes vaporizers as “Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems,” a designation that the researchers said seems inaccurate, at least as far as teens are concerned. (Though skeptics of the study said that teens might not really know what’s in their vape juice). The authors said we need more vape-specific research, including on tobacco-less products so we understand the long-term effects of inhaling chocolate-cake-flavored chemicals.