Vaping is not vanishing

By Jon Quinn (TheLorian)

Vaping marijuana and vaping nicotine has had a dramatic rise over the past three years, primarily in 19-22 year olds, according to a 2019 survey from Monitoring the Future (MTF). College students who said they vaped marijuana in the past 30 days rose from 5.2% in 2017, to 14% in 2019. The corresponding percentages for their non-college-attending peers increased from 7.8% in 2017, to 17% in 2019.

MTF has been studying the trends in substance use in adolescents and adults in the United States since 1980. The study is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health. The survey is conducted by scientists at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor.

The percentage of college-age individuals (19-22 years old) who vape nicotine also increased in the past three years. In 2017, 6.1% of college students and 7.9% of those not in college said they vaped nicotine in the past month, rising to 22% and 18% respectively in 2019. The increases in vaping marijuana and nicotine mark one of the largest increases in use for any substance reported by this study in its 45-year history.

“We are seeing an increasingly concerning trend,” said Nora D. Volkow, M.D., the director of NIDA. “Many young people may view vaping and cannabis use as ‘safer,’ but the reality is that nicotine is highly addictive, and cannabis can also be addictive, particularly in younger adults for whom the brain is still developing.”

Marijuana continues to have a high prevalence among college-aged individuals. In 2018, 43% of 19-22 year olds reported using marijuana in the past year. The percentage held at 43% in 2019 as well. However, the daily or near-daily users of marijuana in this age group is at its highest at 15% in 2019.

The survey also revealed trends among other substances. Cigarette smoking has continued a downward trend with about 8% of college students reporting having smoked in the past month. This is an all-time low according to the survey. Amphetamine use has also declined to 8.1% of college students reporting non-medical use in the past year.

Binge drinking (five or more drinks in a row in the past two weeks), which has been declining gradually over the past few decades showed no significant changes for young adults attending or not attending college. In 2019, 33% of college students and 22% of same-age adults not in college reported binge drinking. High-intensity drinking (10 or more drinks in a row in the past two weeks) has stayed level at about 11% since 2015 for people between the ages of 19 and 22, regardless of college attendance.

Loras College has several accessible resources available to current Loras students like the counseling center and the health and wellness center. Both are located in the Alumni Campus Center on the forth floor in the most northeast part of the building.

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Jon is currently a junior who is double-majoring in Media Studies and Public Relations. He is heavily involved at Loras as a campus photographer, residential adviser, and a sports editor for the school newspaper, The Lorian.

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