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CHICAGO—November 18, 2019—A new survey about vaping in America finds over one-third of adults who used an e-cigarette or vaping device in the past 12 months (35%) used products with THC.
Nearly one in ten adults who have used an e-cigarette or vaping device in the past 12 months (9%) purchased or received the e-cigarette or vaping products from an unauthorized seller (e.g. dealer or street vendor). Additionally, more than a quarter (27%) say they purchased or received their products from a friend , according to the online survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association.
The CDC warns that people should not use e-cigarettes, or vaping products that contain THC, particularly from informal sources like friends, family or online dealers. The more than 2,100 lung injury cases and 42 deaths attributed to e-cigarette or vaping products are believed to be associated with inhaling vitamin E acetate, an additive in some THC-containing products.
“Many vaping products are unregulated or altered, and even authenticated products have substances that have not been fully tested for safety,” says Daniel Parenti, DO, a pulmonologist at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. “I’d encourage everyone to stop vaping, but at a minimum do not get your products from dubious sources.”
Flavors aren’t just attracting kids
Nearly one-third of U.S. adults (31%) used an e-cigarette or a vaping device in the past 12 months. After decades of sustained drops in smoking rates, Dr. Parenti is concerned by the high uptake of e-cigarette and vaping products.
The majority of those who have used an e-cigarette or vaping device in the past 12 months (83%) say they used vaping products with flavoring. When asked which type of flavoring they had tried, the poll finds:
“We’ve focused a lot of attention on adolescent use during this health crisis—and we should because they are particularly vulnerable—but what many people don’t realize is these products can be extremely harmful and deadly for adults, especially those who have a pre-existing condition like asthma or cardiac disease,” says Dr. Parenti.
Diagnosis can be difficult
Symptoms of vaping-related lung injury may mimic the flu. Patients who experience a lingering cough, shortness of breath, nausea, fever, or weight loss, should speak with their physician. Diagnosis can also be challenging because doctors and researchers are just beginning to understand the likely causes.
“E-cigarettes are not like Marlboros—they’re not one consistent product,” says Dr. Parenti. “The ability to modify how and what you vape, change the additives, the heat or dose, means we are dealing with an exponential amount of variables as we try to fully understand the cause of this health epidemic.”
The American Osteopathic Association recommends patients avoid vaping at this time.
About the AOA
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) represents more than 145,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students; promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; and is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools.
To learn more about DOs and the osteopathic philosophy of medicine, visit www.DoctorsThatDO.org.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of AOA from October 28-30, 2019 among 2,032 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 628 have used an e-cigarette or vaping device in the past 12 months. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Jessica Bardoulas.
Director of Media Relations
American Osteopathic Association