As students headed back to class in September, a new survey indicated a rise in vaping among teenagers across the United States and profound negative impacts tied to it, including lower academic performance, decreased student engagement, and worsened depression.
Verkada’s 2023 Teen Vaping Survey presents a “comprehensive examination of teen vaping, bringing together perspectives and insights from parents, high school teachers, and vaping and nonvaping teenagers alike.” Verkada partnered with Harris Poll to survey 2,650 Americans to delve into the key drivers behind the appeal of vaping to teenagers, its impact on classroom dynamics, and what’s working (and not) in the responses to curb the behavior.
Among other things, the data show that many teens who vape nicotine are trying to quit but are unable to, with the school environment among contributing roadblocks.
Verkada’s “Vape Activity Index” showed a 20 percent increase in vaping activity in the 2022-2023 academic year from the academic year prior. More than 80 percent of teachers and students surveyed believe there has been an increase in teenage vaping usage over the past 24 months.
Teenagers know it’s a problem, especially those who vape. Nearly all teens who vape (96 percent) view vaping as a problem, with 61 percent of vaping teens considering themselves to be addicted to vaping.
Vaping hurts mental health and academic performance. Vaping teens are 52 percent more likely to feel negative about their physical health and two times more likely to feel depressed.
The school bathroom is a vaping hotspot. Nearly all teens surveyed report that bathrooms are where vaping occurs most frequently on campus. More than half of the teachers surveyed noticed that vaping students ask to use the bathroom more frequently than those who don’t.
The new survey confirms the trend reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in October 2022. Data from the annual National Youth Tobacco Survey showed that teen vaping rates were rising once again, with 14.1 percent of high school students and 3.3 percent of middle school students saying they’d recently used an e-cigarette or other vape product. The survey, led by both the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, was conducted from January through the end of May 2022.
Linda Neff, the chief of the epidemiology branch of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, told NBC News last year “These numbers confirm that the e-cigarette epidemic in our country is far from over… What is even more disturbing is the frequency of use,” she added. “Among those who currently use e-cigarettes, more than one in four use them daily.”
As we reported on this blog, e-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among young Americans since 2014. Research led by the universities of Cambridge and Warwick in the UK and Fudan University in China recently indicated that the misuse of nicotine and possibly other psychoactive substances may actually shrink the gray matter in the developing teenage brain, reducing the ability to make good choices.
Some teenagers engaging in problematic substance use eventually require professional treatment or else risk developing a full-blown addiction and other serious health problems. There is a new treatment option for at-risk teenagers in the Denver area. Avanti Behavioral Health offers an intensive outpatient program (IOP) for clients between the ages of 13 and 18 in Greenwood Village, Colorado. Our mission is to provide comprehensive, holistic, family-centered, and trauma-informed care for teens.
For more information about our IOP and family programming call us at (720) 753-4030.