Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Youth Who Use E-Cigarettes May Be More Likely to Use Marijuana, Study Finds

Adolescents and young adults who use e-cigarettes are more likely to use marijuana, according to a meta-analysis published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.

“These findings, which show a significant association between two psychoactive substances that have long-term deleterious effects on the brain, have important public health implications: Addressing [e-cigarette] use and doing so early may be an effective way of delaying onset of marijuana use,” Nicholas Chadi, M.D., M.P.H., of the Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and colleagues wrote.

Chadi and colleagues searched several databases for studies comparing rates of marijuana use among youth aged 10 to 24 years with and without a history of e-cigarette use. They also searched through abstracts and reports from major substance use and tobacco prevention associations and conferences and summary reports on the health effects of e-cigarettes.

A total of 21 studies, including three longitudinal studies representing 14,364 participants and 18 cross-sectional studies representing 113,863 participants, were included in the meta-analysis.

The authors found that youth who used e-cigarettes were more than three times as likely to be using or have used marijuana. Additional analysis revealed e-cigarette users under 18 were more likely to use marijuana compared with e-cigarette users over 18.

“While the long-term health outcomes of using newer [electronic nicotine-delivery systems] devices is not yet well understood, e-cigarette liquids contain several known toxins. Chronic exposure accruing over a lifetime for individuals who initiate use early is a particular concern,” the researchers wrote. “It is well established that the younger the age at onset of substance use, the higher the likelihood of developing a substance use disorder later in life.”

For related information, see the Psychiatric News article “FDA Warns Some E-Cigarette Users Having Seizures, Particularly Youth.”

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