A new study conducted by the University of Michigan surveyed over 45,000 students and found that 1 out of 5 high school seniors have vaped nicotine at least once during the previous month. This number is twice the amount of last year, representing the highest jump recorded in the survey’s 44 years of history, which includes the marijuana rise in the 1970’s.
Despite the fact that teen drug and alcohol use is declining steadily on a yearly basis, these increased numbers in vaping have also been reflected in other surveys, sparking a movement that demands for protective measures to be adopted in order to keep the teens at bay.
Juuls and vape pens are small and could look like hard drives and other everyday objects, giving students the chance to smoke while in school.
“They can put it in their sleeve or their pocket. They can do it wherever, whenever. They can do it in class if they’re sneaky about it,” said Trina Hale, a junior from South Charleston High School in West Virginia.
AP News believes that this surge in vaping nicotine is due to several factors, including how discreet the vape pens are, the novelty of the item, and the fact that vaping seems to be a solitary activity instead of a social one.
A leading theory believes that this decrease in teens’ drug and alcohol use is due to the fact that kids are now spending more time at home, preferring to communicate with their friends through their phones over hanging out with them in person. “Drug experimentation is a group activity,” said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
A rise in vape pens would also predict a rise in smoking cigarettes but as of this year it appears not to be the case. As it stands, teens believe smoking cigarettes is bad for you. Why this logic doesn’t extend to Juuls and other vape pens is a question that remains unanswered.