Showing posts with label smoking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label smoking. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Vaporizing Cannabis Using E-Cigarette Equipment—It’s Happening in High School

          We and other journals have been publishing articles on the increasing prevalence of electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use among teenagers despite their not being approved for use before age 18.  But what happens when the equipment for vaporizing nicotine and other chemicals that make up the contents of an e-cigarette is used by teens for vaporizing cannabis?  So how prevalent is this practice among adolescents?  Can you predict what subtypes of e-cigarette users will do this?  What forms of cannabis are being used for vaporization?  
       Morean et al. ( (doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-1727) ) share the results of responses from more than 3800 Connecticut high school students who completed an anonymous survey with some dramatic results that you will want to know about.  The fact that those 18% of those who regularly use e-cigarettes will vaporize cannabis was surprising to us.  Link to this study and learn a great deal more from the results of this survey than you may have imagined, enabling you to then introduce this subject into conversations with adolescents in your practice.   
      Were you aware of this practice?  Is it happening in your community?  Please share your experience with vaporizing cannabis by responding to this blog, sending us an e-letter, or posting your comments on our Facebook or Twitter sites.

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Use of Marijuana and Alcohol among Youth with Chronic Illness, Especially Those Non-Adherent to Treatment

By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief 

          Adolescent risk-taking is something we all work hard to talk about and prevent with our teen patients during routine health maintenance visits.  But how often do we focus on risk-taking prevention in our teens with chronic illness such as cystic fibrosis, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and others? 
      Weitzman et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-0722) share with us the results of a cross-sectional study of more than 400 chronically ill preteens and teens ranging from 9 to 18 years who completed a self-administered survey that enabled correlation of risk-taking behaviors with disease knowledge and treatment adherence behaviors while controlling for possible confounders like mental health co-morbidities.  
      The results are concerning and show high school aged teens with chronic illness demonstrating more usage of alcohol and binge drinking as well as marijuana use than you might expect and things get even worse in those teens who forget or skip their routine medications.  There’s lots more to be learned and then shared with your patients with chronic illness with the hope of curbing their risk-taking so at no risk—read this article and learn more.   
     Are you finding your non-adherent teen patients with chronic illness are similar to those in this study when it comes to risk-taking behaviors?  Share your thoughts with us by responding to this blog, sending us an e-letter or posting on our Facebook site or Twitter.

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Teen Use of Electronic Cigarettes May Be a Function of How They Feel About These Products

By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief

      The increasing presence of electronic cigarettes over the past few years has not escaped our attention including an uptick on manuscripts to Pediatrics regarding adolescent usage of these devices.  But what makes a teen want to try them—and how does using an e-cigarette influence their desire to start or stop smoking regular tobacco cigarettes? 
       Barrington et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-0639) have smoked out the answers to these questions in a study being released this week.  The authors surveyed more than 2000 11th and 12 graders in southern California and found that 24.0% had used an e-cigarette at some point in time and a smaller percentage (18.7%) had smoked a tobacco cigarette and noted a correlation between the two groups.  Of the teens who had used an e-cigarette however in the past 30 days, 40.5% had not used a combustible cigarette. So what drives their desire to use either of these products?   
     The authors look at a variety of psychosocial factors including whether the products are used at home, whether their friends use them, and even whether they view them as harmful or not from a health standpoint.  The take-away is that there are factors identified in this study that are strongly associated with smoking practices in teens—and learning what they are may make for a more effective approach to helping teens quit e-cigarette and conventional cigarette smoking—as well as whether use of one might lead to use of the other.
      The data in this study is guaranteed to light up your conversation with teens about smoking in ways that may make the effectiveness of what you talk about even more effective.  Are you finding some strategies more effective than others in getting teens to not use e-cigarettes, let alone tobacco products?  Are you finding that the psychosocial factors identified in this study are influencing your patients as strongly as they seem to be in the teen population studied?  Share with us your thoughts and solutions to this problem by responding to this blog or sending us an e-letter or posting your thoughts on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

How Harmful is “Light” or “Intermittent” Smoking According to Our Teen Patients?

Smoking:Javier Ignacio Acuna Ditzel @flickr

      Teens will frequently tell us they smoke only a cigarette or two daily or one every few days so “it’s not really a problem.”  Sadly they are wrong, according to studies on tobacco addiction that begins with light or intermittent smoking in adolescence.  Yet do teens ever view their light smoking habits as harmful?   
      Dr. Amrock and Dr. Weitzman (doi:10.1542/peds.2014-2502) opted to investigate this question by looking at data from a recent cross-sectional National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) and the results are interesting and concerning.  Most (88%) of the 24,000 teens surveyed  believe that while heavy smoking can be harmful (multiple cigarettes a day), more than a third did not think light daily smoking was a problem and one forth felt that intermittent smoking could not worsen their overall health.   
      Clearly this is a problem requiring some attention—not just by all of us who care for teens, but perhaps at a public health level. Better education about the dangers of light and intermittent smoking needs to be better recognized by the youngest population of smokers who grow up to have the most complications from their chronic tobacco use.   
      Read this study and learn even more about which subgroups of teens were most likely to not recognize the harm of light and intermittent smoking and then think about better ways to raise awareness in adolescents in your practice or better yet in your community.

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