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1 in 5 high school seniors admits to vaping marijuana

In this Wednesday, April 11, 2018 photo, an unidentified 15-year-old high school student displays a vaping device near the school's campus in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Utah health officials are worried about the growing numbers of teens who are vaping marijuana.

A new national survey says 21% of high school seniors vaped marijuana this year, and 14% did it in the last month. That’s a big jump from last year when 7.5% copped to vaping marijuana in the previous month.

“These products can be highly addictive, and you really don’t know what is getting into these products in some cases,” said Ryan Bartlett with Utah’s Tobacco Prevention and Control program. “With marijuana, for example, vitamin E acetate was added to those products, and that’s something we have found is very damaging to the lungs.”

The same survey from the University of Michigan for the National Institute on Drug Abuse also found that about 25% of high school seniors reported vaping nicotine in the past month.

12% said they did so daily, and about 8% said they did it because they were hooked.

“We are seeing more youth and young adults in Utah use these open system vape products, where they can fill the e-liquid themselves. And that’s concerning to us because you are never exactly sure what is in those products,” said Bartlett.

Bartlett says it is encouraging, however, to see more people call the quitline (1-800-Quit-Now), during all these cases of lung disease and deaths. He says they will continue to press their message that vaping any product is harmful to youth and young adults.

They are also looking at what programs have worked in other states to spread the message not to start vaping, or how to quit.