A new study found that more than 2 million teenagers in the United States are using electronic cigarettes or better known as vapes to smoke marijuana.
The figure is based on the 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey that polled a sample of students from grades 6 to 12. The research was led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Their findings were published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
Prevalence Of Cannabis In E-Cigarettes Among US Youth
From 20,675 participants, 8.9 percent or nearly 1 in 11 children admitted to using marijuana, hash oil, or THC wax with their e-cigarette devices. To extrapolate, across the country, about 12.4 percent or 1.7 million were Grade 9 to 12 students (high school) while 4.5 percent or 425,000 were from grades 6 to 8 (middle school).
About 5,217 students, meanwhile, admitted to using an e-cigarette at least once in their lives. From the group, 30.6 percent has vaped marijuana products.
The study also found that certain groups are more likely to use marijuana products in their e-cigarettes. Of the surveyed teens, 10.6 percent of all boys have vaped marijuana while only 7.2 percent of girls tried it out.
About 10.8 percent of all Latino students have smoked marijuana products using their e-cigarettes. In comparison, only 8.5 percent of white students and 8.4 percent of black students admitted to using it. About 13 percent of students who vape marijuana live with a tobacco user in their homes.
A similar study from the University of Michigan last December also found that 8 percent of surveyed 10th graders had vaped marijuana in the past year.
Vapes are the most common tobacco product in the United States. Although it comes with its own health risks, e-cigarettes are generally considered to be safer alternatives to regular cigarettes.
"The use of marijuana in these products is of particular concern because cannabis use among youth can adversely affect learning and memory and may impair later academic achievement and education," explained lead author of the study, Katrina Trivers, to The Verge.
Stricter Regulation For Vapes
The United States Food and Drug Authority has already started cracking down on the prevalent vape use of teens. Earlier this month, public health officials declared vaping an epidemic in youths and efforts have already started to steer children away from using e-cigarettes.
FDA Commissioner Cott Gottlieb is also pursuing vape retailers who fail to keep e-cigarettes away from children under the age of 18. He is looking at a possible ban of e-liquid if five of the biggest manufacturers in the vaping business fail to provide an adequate plan to discourage American youths from using the product.