The youth vaping epidemic is of longer duration. Current use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products increased by 900% among U.S. middle and high school students between 2011 and 2015, declined in 2016, and then increased again between 2017 and 2018, erasing previous progress.2 In 2019, more than 5.2 million young people in the United States reported current use, including 27.5% of high school students and 10.5% of middle school students.2Both these epidemics predominantly affect young people and probably have multiple causes. Moreover, it’s likely that the widespread use of e-cigarettes, including products that facilitate THC use, has created an environment that has fueled the EVALI epidemic.
The EVALI and youth vaping epidemics warrant immediate and decisive action to protect public health. The use of vaping products among young people is unsafe, regardless of whether they contain nicotine or THC. Both marijuana use and nicotine use can harm brain development through young adulthood; starting to use these substances at a younger age also increases the risk of tobacco and cannabis use disorders later in life.1,3 The risks posed by these products are further compounded by the emergence of EVALI.