Nursing & Healthcare News

The Vaping Epidemic

Almost half of California teens now use e-cigarettes!

Once a hipster fad, vaping is rapidly emerging as a major public health issue. New data shows that almost half of California teenagers are e-cigarette users.Once a hipster fad, vaping is rapidly emerging as a major public health issue. New data shows that almost half of California teenagers are e-cigarette users.

More Girls Than Boys

Forty-eight percent. According to recently released data from the 2017 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), that’s the percentage of California teens 18 and younger who now use e-cigarettes.

Working Nurse has previously reported on the enormous boom in e-cigarette use among teenagers. The most recent National Youth Tobacco Survey estimated that 20.8 percent of high school students and 4.9 percent of middle schoolers nationwide now “vape.” However, the CHIS results suggest that e-cigarette use in California greatly exceeds even those alarming figures.

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Interestingly, the data indicates that California girls are significantly more likely than boys to vape. Almost three-fifths (58.9 percent) of teen girls reported using e-cigarettes in the past month, compared to 40.5 percent of teen boys.

Nicotine Addiction and Poisoning

Young people who start vaping now may be gaining a habit that will be hard to break. Back in February, a paper in the British journal Tobacco Control noted that over the past four years, e-cigarette manufacturers have dramatically increased the amount of nicotine in their e-liquids, from 1 to 3 percent by volume to 5 percent or more.

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Ostensibly aimed at heavy smokers, these high-nicotine liquids deliver levels of nicotine comparable to smoking several packs of cigarettes.  The paper’s lead author, Stanford professor Robert Jackler, M.D., warns that not only do such high concentrations of nicotine pose significant addiction risks, these liquids — which are often fruit- or candy-flavored — could also prove a deadly temptation to younger children.

“A single teaspoon is toxic enough to kill five toddlers,” Jackler says.


Aaron Severson is a freelance writer, editor, and writing consultant as well as the associate editor of Working Nurse.


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