New Study: 2 in 3 Teen Vapers Don’t Use Nicotine

by Craig Boudreau

A new study published in the journal Tobacco Control has shown that teens who vape don’t use nicotine by a 3 to 1 margin, EurekAlert reported Thursday.

The study used data compiled by Monitoring The Future, a project designed to assess “behavior of young people,” and surveyed nearly 15,000 students from 12th, 10th and 8th grade about their vaping habits.

A full 2 in 3 students reported that they vape without nicotine, or “just flavoring,” which the study says calls into question the notion that there is a “nicotine epidemic.” For comparison, just under 1/5th of the students reported using nicotine in their vape juice.

Further, the findings actually purport that vaporizers could be a “primary prevention” device. Primary prevention meaning that “vaping can serve as an indicator for kids who would be prime candidates for interventions to prevent smoking, such as educational programs,” lead author of the study, Richard Miech, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Interventions that are expensive are most likely not plausible to administer to all adolescents in the country,” Miech said. “[B]ut it could possibly be plausible to use them just for the smaller proportion of adolescents who vape.”

Instead of using umbrella programs targeting all kids, education programs could specifically target those who already vape.

Miech tells TheDCNF that is important, because three separate studies, “found that among kids who had never smoked, those who used vaporizers were significantly more likely to use cigarettes a year later.”

One of the reasons kids may be opting for no-nicotine vape juice is because nicotine is a flavor-killer.

“[T]he less nicotine you use, the better your liquid will taste,” Gizmodo writes in a 2014 article.

The findings question the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) classification of vaporizers being an, “Electronic Nicotine Delivery System” (ENDS), since the overwhelming majority of students opted for no nicotine juices.

Researchers say efforts to ban vaporizer sales to teens miss the mark when they claim they, “intrinsically deliver harmful substances.” The main ingredientsin vape juice are propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, both of which are FDA approved and have been deemed safe for human consumption.

Follow Craig Boudreau on Twitter.

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