E-cig­a­rettes gain pop­u­lar­ity with Ariz. kids

The Arizona Republic - - Valley & State - Perry Van­dell Reach the re­porter at 602-444-2474 or perry.van­[email protected]­nett.com. Fol­low him on Twit­ter @Per­ryVan­dell.

Reg­u­lar cig­a­rettes are in.

That’s one of the main find­ings in the 2018 Ari­zona Youth Sur­vey, which asks, among other things, which il­licit sub­stances Ari­zona’s eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders grav­i­tate to­ward.

The bi­en­nial re­port, con­ducted by the Ari­zona Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Com­mis­sion and Ari­zona State Univer­sity’s School of Crim­i­nol­ogy and Crim­i­nal Jus­tice, sur­veyed more than 48,000 stu­dents from 245 schools statewide.

Com­mis­sion mem­bers touched upon a few key take­aways from the sur­vey in a press con­fer­ence Mon­day morn­ing. are out. E-cig­a­rettes

E-cig­a­rette pop­u­lar­ity grows

Use of e-cig­a­rettes, also known as vape pens, has sky­rock­eted among Ari­zona’s kids the past cou­ple of years. The bat­tery-op­er­ated de­vices are used to in­hale a va­por that can con­tain nico­tine and of­ten in­cludes fla­vor­ings, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional In­sti­tute on Drug Abuse.

The re­port shows nearly 20 per­cent of sur­veyed youths used an e-cig­a­rette within the past 30 days. The Ari­zona Youth Sur­vey didn’t ask stu­dents about e-cig­a­rettes un­til 2016, but usage among high school se­niors within 30 days of when they were asked jumped from 17.6 per­cent in 2016 to 26.1 per­cent in 2018.

Tra­di­tional cig­a­rette use of­fered a sharp con­trast, with only 4.8 per­cent of stu­dents hav­ing smoked one within the pre­vi­ous 30 days — a drop of more than 50 per­cent from 2014’s sur­vey.

Yava­pai County At­tor­ney Sheila Polk said e-cig­a­rettes’ pop­u­lar­ity is off­set­ting the pos­i­tive ben­e­fits from a drop in tra­di­tional cig­a­rette use.

“Decades of progress in get­ting our kids to stop us­ing cig­a­rettes has been un­done in re­ally two short years with the e-cig­a­rette in­dus­try,” Polk said.

Mar­i­juana use re­mains steady

Mar­i­juana use hasn’t in­creased the way e-cig­a­rette use has, the sur­vey found.

Nearly 30 per­cent of stu­dents said they used mar­i­juana within their life­time, with about half hav­ing used within the pre­vi­ous 30 days. But those fig­ures barely in­creased or re­mained un­changed across the board be­tween 2014 and 2018.

More than two-thirds of stu­dents who did use mar­i­juana said they ob­tained it through friends, the sur­vey found.

Ob­tain­ing mar­i­juana from some­one with a med­i­cal mar­i­juana card also in­creased roughly 50 per­cent in all sur­veyed grade lev­els from 2016 to 2018 — a fact that wasn’t lost on Mari­copa County At­tor­ney Bill Mont­gomery.

“I want to take you back to 2010, when we were told by those who made the ar­gu­ment that what we needed to do was to reg­u­late mar­i­juana so that it could be pro­vided safely and kept away from chil­dren,” Mont­gomery said. “That’s not work­ing so good.”

Mont­gomery, a vo­cal op­po­nent of mar­i­juana and its le­gal­iza­tion, ex­pressed con­cern that only about 50 per­cent of sur­veyed stu­dents be­lieve there is “lit­tle to no risk” to us­ing mar­i­juana reg­u­larly.

He pinned the con­flict­ing opin­ions on more and more states le­gal­iz­ing recre­ational mar­i­juana and asked par­ents to dis­suade their chil­dren from in­dulging in the drug.

“Par­ents are the fire­wall,” he said. “Par­ents are the ones who are go­ing to have to step up and have more of those con­ver­sa­tions.”

Al­co­hol use re­mains the most preva­lent

Al­though use of e-cig­a­rettes and mar­i­juana has in­creased among teens over the past cou­ple of years, nei­ther un­seated al­co­hol as the sub­stance of choice.

The sur­vey found 45 per­cent of stu­dents sur­veyed from all three grades had con­sumed al­co­hol at least once in their life, with more than 20 per­cent con­sum­ing it within the pre­vi­ous 30 days.

More than 9 per­cent said they drank more than five drinks in a row.

Most stu­dents said they ob­tained the al­co­hol at a party, al­though adult rel­a­tives and home liquor cab­i­nets were also pop­u­lar av­enues.

Nev­er­the­less, the sur­vey sug­gested al­co­hol con­sump­tion is de­clin­ing among stu­dents.

Al­co­hol con­sump­tion within 30 days among high school se­niors dropped from 39.3 per­cent in 2014 to 30.8 per­cent in 2018. Grades eight and 10 also saw a drop in con­sump­tion, but to a lesser ex­tent.

When asked whether a stu­dent used a sub­stance within the past 30 days, 19.9 per­cent of stu­dents said they used an eci­garette and 20.2 per­cent said they drank al­co­hol.

Hard drug use re­main rare

Al­though al­co­hol and e-cig­a­rettes are pop­u­lar among stu­dents, harder drugs such as co­caine, heroin and metham­phetamine were far less com­mon.

Only 3 per­cent of stu­dents re­ported us­ing co­caine in their life­time in 2018, and only 0.8 and 0.5 per­cent had used meth or heroin re­spec­tively.

How­ever, pre­scrip­tion-grade pain re­liev­ers like Vi­codin, OxyCon­tin and fen­tanyl were much more preva­lent, with 9 per­cent of stu­dents say­ing they took one with­out a doc­tor’s per­mis­sion dur­ing their life­time.

Maria Christina Fuentes, di­rec­tor of the Gover­nor’s Of­fice of Youth, Faith and Fam­ily, said the state com­mis­sions the study ev­ery two years to help judge if teen sub­stance abuse preven­tion ef­forts are ef­fec­tive.

“In or­der to see what is work­ing and what isn’t when it comes to preven­tion ef­forts, we have to know why and how youth per­ceive drug use and sub­stance abuse and how that per­cep­tion is shaped,” Fuentes said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.