*The following is excerpted from an online article from USA Today.
Teenagers have discovered a new way to inhale marijuana — e-cigarette vaporizers, according to a new study.
About 27% of high school students who have used both marijuana and e-cigarettes reported using the devices to vaporize cannabis. Those most likely to vaporize pot with e-cigarettes included males and younger students.
E-cigarettes are designed to vaporize solutions containing nicotine, said co-author Meghan Rabbitt Morean. But, she noted, “teenagers are resourceful, and it was only a matter of time.”
Vaporizers give kids a better way to hide what they're inhaling.
“It’s so much easier to conceal e-cigarette pot use," said Morean, an assistant professor at Oberlin College. "Everybody knows that characteristic smell of marijuana, but this vapor is different. It’s possible that teenagers are using pot in a much less detectable way.”
Researchers at Yale University based their findings on answers from a survey sent to nearly 4,000 Connecticut students. The study was published in Pediatrics.
About 28% of students in the study had tried e-cigarettes.
Morean said people should remember to be cautious when interpreting her findings. There haven't been any other studies showing teens are using e-cigs to vaporize marijuana. She noted that scientists don't fully understand the health effects of e-cig-vaporized cannabis.
"We now know it’s happening, but there are more questions about who is using and how damaging it is," Morean said.
E-cigarette use among youth increased more than 200% from 2011 to 2013, according to a report in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research. Those surveyed had not tried regular cigarettes.
“Unfortunately, there is really no end for what can be vaporized in these devices,” said Erika Sward, a spokeswoman for the American Lung Association.
Morean said she and her colleagues plan to conduct additional studies.