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Teen vaping rates down since pandemic

Published: Nov. 5, 2020 at 6:32 AM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Less than a year ago, teen vaping was making major headlines, but that conversation has slipped into the background since COVID-19 took over our lives.

But scientists have continued to study the phenomenon and some trends have emerged.

One good thing coming out of 2020 is that teen vaping rates are falling nationwide.

According to Dr. James Tita, chief medical officer at Mercy St. Vincent, we’ve seen a reduction of about a million teenage vapers between February and September. It can likely be chalked up to a few different factors, including the ban on flavored vaping fluids and a heightened awareness of the risks.

“We know that of teenage vapers, those are the ones that are most susceptible to the addictive effects of nicotine, that about 30% of them ultimately will go on to smoke tobacco cigarettes,” says Dr. Tita.

Although rates are falling, there are 3-4 million teens still vaping in this country.

The falling vaping rates could possibly have something to do with the virus.

With so many schools going virtual, kids have less access to vapes that are passed around school, and there can be less peer pressure, as well.

It’s not all good news, however, as vapers are 5-7 times more likely to develop COVID-19.

“What we don’t know is if this had something to do with the effect of vaping on lung function or immune function, or if it had something to do with passing the vaping cartridges between people,” says Dr. Tita.

There’s also been a severe drop in acute lung disease brought on by contaminated vaping cartridges that were prevalent last winter.

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