Marijuana, E-Cigarettes Enticing More Young Adults

THURSDAY, July 9, 2020 (HealthDay News)

E-cigarettes and pot may go hand in hand when it comes to young Americans, a new report suggests.

There’s been a sharp rise in the use of both among young adults in California, and many of them are underage, the new analysis finds.

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, examined state data from 2017 to 2018 and found that c-cigarette use increased 48%, and marijuana use increased 19% among those ages 18-25. There was no significant change in cigarette smoking, which has been declining for a decade.

In 2018, more than a third of young adults (1.7 million) were currently using at least one, and sometimes more, of these products, with 314,000 reporting smoking cigarettes, 682,000 using e-cigarettes and 1.3 million using pot.

“Although the state and local governments have made massive strides in tobacco control policy, our research underscores the importance of considering laws that affect access to all three products together,” said study author Ying-Ying Meng, co-director of the Chronic Disease Program at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Flavors were popular among young adults, with 4 of 5 e-cigarette users vaping flavored products and 2 in 5 cigarette users smoking menthol cigarettes.

The study also found that 48% of e-cigarette users, 40% of marijuana users and 28% of cigarette smokers were ages 18-20 and below the legal age limit of 21 to purchase tobacco products and marijuana.

“Policies are needed to discourage young adults from switching from one product to another due to differences in price, access and availability,” Meng said in a university news release.

The findings were published in a June 30 UCLA policy brief.

“Smoking is and has always been a concern in the public health community and beyond, and young adults are particularly at risk for harm and addiction,” added study co-author Ninez Ponce, director of the Center for Health Policy Research.

“The findings suggest steps such as enforcing the existing laws in retail settings and using targeted education and cessation tools among young adults to raise their awareness and quit rates. We need to work together to make these products less desirable, acceptable and accessible among the 4.6 million young adults residing in California,” she said in the release.

— Robert Preidt

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SOURCE: University of California, Los Angeles, news release, June 30, 2020

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