A new study published in the Journal of Substance Use and Misuse finds that vaping nicotine is intensely connected with using marijuana and binge drinking among U.S. youth. In this study, researchers analyzed 2017 – 2019 data on over 51,000 U.S. students in grades 8th, 10th, and 12th from Monitoring the Future (MTF).
They examined the association between the different levels of current nicotine use (measured as none, smoking cigarettes only, vaping nicotine only, and both smoking and vaping nicotine), and current marijuana use (measured as marijuana use with vaping and marijuana use without vaping), discovering alarming associations at all levels of nicotine use but particularly between vaping nicotine and vaping marijuana. Compared to youth who reported no nicotine use at all:
- Youth who vaped nicotine only (no smoking cigarettes) had 20.31 times the likelihood of using marijuana including vaping marijuana.
- Youth who smoked cigarettes and vaped nicotine had 40.10 times the likelihood of using marijuana including vaping marijuana.
- Youth who smoked cigarettes only (no vaping) had 7.01 times the likelihood of using marijuana (no vaping marijuana).
- Youth who smoked cigarettes only (no vaping) had 8.03 times the likelihood of using marijuana including vaping marijuana.
The researchers also examined the association between the different levels of current nicotine use and the number of times engaged in binge drinking, defined as having 5 or more drinks in one occasion, in the past two weeks, and discovered a similar pattern. The highest likelihood of binge drinking occurred among youth who vaped and smoked nicotine. For example, compared to youth who did not use nicotine at all:
- Youth who smoked and vaped nicotine had 21.60 times the likelihood of binge drinking three to five times in the past two weeks.
- Youth who smoked and vaped nicotine had 36.53 times the likelihood of binge drinking ten or more times in the past two weeks.
- Youth who vaped nicotine only (no smoking cigarettes) had 4.27 times the likelihood of binge drinking once in the past two weeks.
These findings support the Institute for Behavior and Health’s One Choice Prevention initiative highlighting that for youth, ALL substance use is related and it is critical that youth not engage in any substance use to protect their vulnerable brain. Encourage youth to adopt the One Choice health goal which is no use of any substance by youth under age 21 for reasons of health. Take a look at these summer prevention messaging handouts that can help youth have a healthy and drug-free summer:
- Kreski, N. T., Ankrum, H., Cerdá, M., Chen, Q., Hasin, D., Martins, S. S., Olfson, M., & Keyes, K. M. (2023). Nicotine vaping and co-occurring substance use among adolescents in the United States from 2017-2019. Substance Use & Misuse, 2023, 8(9):1075-1079. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2023.2188462.
- One Choice https://onechoiceprevention.org/resources