Young people have long been vulnerable to tobacco use, are more likely to be harmed by nicotine and other drugs, and are more likely to be targeted by tobacco advertisers and marketers.
E-cigarette devices are still relatively new compared to other tobacco products, such as combustible cigarettes and piper drugs, and can be targeted by tobacco advertisers and marketers.
s, therefore, more research is needed to try to better understand the popularity of e-cigarettes, including the reasons for smoking and the associated health risks among young people.
Researchers conducted an online survey of 2,505 teens and young adults ages 13 to 24 to examine mental health differences between nicotine-only smokers, THC-only smokers, dual smokers of both nicotine and THC, and people who never smoked either product. conducted a survey to measure .
The study focused on 1,921 people who defined themselves as having smoked in the past 30 days, never smoked, or were current vapers. Of those participants, 562 reported never smoking, 370 reported smoking only nicotine, 159 reported smoking only THC, and 830 reported smoking both nicotine and THC.
Effects of nicotine and THC
The analysis showed that about 70% of THC-only vapers and about 60% of nicotine-only vapers and dual vapers reported experiencing anxiety symptoms such as anxiety, flashbacks, panic attacks, and situational anxiety. Percentage of participants who never smoked.
More than half of nicotine-only, THC-only, and dual vapers reported symptoms of depression, such as difficulty engaging in or taking interest in activities they normally enjoy, during the past week, compared to 25% of non-e-vapers.
More than 50% of people in all vaping groups reported having suicidal thoughts in the past 12 months, compared to only a third of non-users.
About a quarter of dual and nicotine-only e-cigs started smoking nicotine to calm down or feel less stressed, and a third of participants in both groups reported smoking nicotine to cope with feelings of anxiety. In contrast, about half of THC-only vapers started and currently vaped THC to relieve symptoms of anxiety.
About 20% of nicotine-only and dual vapers started smoking to help them feel less depressed and are currently smoking for that reason. About a third of THC-only vapers started vaping THC to feel less depressed, and about half of TCH now started smoking.
Nicotine and THC dual smokers were more likely to say they felt less depressed after starting to smoke, while nicotine-only smokers were more likely to say smoking had no effect on their feelings of depression. This may be due to the stronger dependence of dual users on these products rather than the positive effects of the products on their mental health.
Although we know that THC is commonly smoked, they were surprised to find so many dual vapers had it – twice as much as nicotine alone. Dual use can either increase the addictive nature of vaping or attract people who are more prone to addiction, as well as affect depressive symptoms.
How to fight vaping addiction
These findings highlight the importance of addressing THC use and the need to build resilience and coping skills for adolescents and young adults.
As better coping skills are developed, there may be fewer temptations to try to manage anxiety symptoms and similar mental health issues through vaping, as well as better refusal skills when offered e-cigarettes.
An increased priority on more positive behaviors to reduce stress and manage anxiety symptoms may reduce the likelihood of vaping, possible addiction, and the risk of negative health outcomes.
There is also an urgent need for effective communication campaigns and educational programs to increase awareness of the risks of e-cigarette use among youth and young adults. Future research is needed to examine long-term associations between mental health and vaping, whether nicotine alone, THC alone, or both nicotine and THC.