The review analyzed 17 studies from the United States and Canada published between 2015 and 2021, incorporating of a total of 198,845 surveyed adolescents. Titled, “Prevalence of Adolescent Cannabis Vaping. A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of US and Canadian Studies,” the analysis found that the lifetime prevalence of cannabis vaping expanded from 6.1% in 2013, to 13.6% in 2020. Moreover, the prevalence of cannabis vaping doubled between 2017 to 2020, from 7.2% to 13.2%. Additionally, 30-day prevalence increased 7-fold from 2013 to 2020 (1.6% to 8.4%).
“A possible explanation for the upward trajectory in the prevalence of cannabis vaping observed in our study timeframe is the increasing uptake of vaping products generally used among youth and young adults, widening access to cannabis vaping products through legalization of cannabis, and the decrease in perceived risk of harm toward cannabis in the last decade,” said the authors.
Dwindling smoking rates
Meanwhile, the Canadian Tobacco and Nicotine Survey has recently revealed that between 2019 and 2020, there was a 40% drop in smoking rates in this specific age group, from 13.3% to 8%. This figure is encouraging for Health Canada’s smoking prevalence target of 5% for 2035. Moreover the target has already been achieved among those aged 15-19, as the smoking rate is currently no more than 5%.
In a letter addressed to Health Minister Patty Hajdu, professor of Economics at Concordia University, and a research fellow at the C.D. Howe Institute, Ian Irvine, said that it is a shame that the media is selective in what it reports. “It is unfortunate that these achievements have been largely ignored by a media that has been, for the most part, fixated on the concept of a vaping epidemic among these age groups.”
Irvine highlighted that while smoking rates had been declining due to Government policy towards tobacco, the real change happened when vaping products arrived on the scene. “By 2013 smoking had declined to 11 percent for those aged 15-19, 18 percent for 20-24 year olds, and about 16 percent for those aged 25 and above…Then a disruptive technology intruded on the scene –vaping.”