‘Emerging’ tobacco products gaining traction among young, CDC survey finds

The percentage of middle-school and high-school students using so-called emerging tobacco products is increasing even as their rate of tobacco use in general is remaining relatively constant, federal scientists reported Thursday.

Last year, 6.7% of middle-school students and 23.3% of high-school students said in a survey reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that they had used a tobacco product at least once in the previous 30 days.

Last year’s overall rate of tobacco use differs little from what it was in 2011, when 7.5% of middle school students and 24.3% of high school students said they had used a tobacco product.

One in seven (14.0%) said last year that they smoked cigarettes, down from 15.8% in 2011.

But the surveys found a bigger change when they asked about hookahs, snus, dissolvable tobacco and e-cigarettes.

E-cigarette use nearly doubled between 2011 and 2012 for middle-school students, from 0.6% to 1.1%, and the use of hookahs by Latinos rose from 1.7% to 3.0%.

Full story of teens using tobacco products at CNN Health

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Marijuana does not stop chronic pain in teens, says study

One of the most commonly cited reasons for medical marijuana use is chronic pain, but for teens it’s not recommended. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic say that for teens, marijuana use may only worsen the pain and symptoms (see the video for comments from the lead researcher). As acceptance for medical marijuana grows, teens need to be aware of how smoking a joint may create more symptoms than it solves.

A study in the July 2013 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings warns that marijuana use for pain may interfere with normal development (released June 24, 2013). “The consequences may be very, very severe, particularly for adolescents who may get rid of their pain — or not — at the expense of the rest of their life,” said co-author J. Michael Bostwick, M.D., a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist.

The case study involves three high-school age patients who were seen at Mayo Clinic’s pediatric chronic pain clinic. All three self-reported marijuana use for severe pain after trying other therapies with no success (see the video). The researchers say this study is not about the legality of marijuana and that they recognize that cannibus may have useful benefits, but most likely not when smoked. They say this in itself may pose more risk for lung cancer than the benefits of pain management.

Full story of marijuana stopping teens chronic pain at the Examiner

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Marijuana Dependence Researcher: Important to Focus on Teens

A drug used to treat liver toxicity in Tylenol overdoses may be helpful in treating teens dependent on marijuana, when it is combined with behavioral therapy, according to an expert speaking at the recent American Psychiatric Association annual meeting. The drug is one of a number of new treatments being tested for marijuana dependence, but is the only one so far tested solely in adolescents.

“Young people should be a particular focus of treatment for marijuana dependence,” says researcher Kevin M. Gray, M.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. “We want to treat it early, before a lot of serious outcomes occur when they transition to adulthood.”

His placebo-controlled study of the drug, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), found it was effective when given to teens who were dependent on marijuana. The 116 teens in the study also received weekly, brief skills-based counseling and received compensation for having drug-free urine tests, through an intervention called contingency management, said Dr. Gray, who published the results last year in the American Journal of Psychiatry. He is now setting up a similar study of NAC in marijuana-dependent adults. Both studies are funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Full story of teen marijuana dependence at DrugFree.org

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Teenage Smoking Behavior Influenced by Friends’ and Parents’ Smoking Habits

The company you keep in junior high school may have more influence on your smoking behavior than your high school friends, according to newly published research from the University of Southern California (USC).

The study, which appears in the April 12 issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health, identifies how friends’ and parental influence on cigarette smoking changes from junior high to high school.

The research indicates that intervention targets to counteract friends’ influence may have more of an effect in junior high than in high school, and that parents remain influential on smoking behavior through high school, indicating another possible intervention target, the researchers said.

“Based on social developmental model research, we thought friends would have more influence on cigarette use during high school than junior high school,” said first author Yue Liao, M.P.H., Ph.D., a student in the department of preventive medicine’s Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research (IPR) at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “But what we found was friends have greater influence during junior high school than high school. We think the reason may be that friends’ cigarette use behavior may have a stronger influence on youth who start smoking at a younger age. During high school, cigarette use might represent the maintenance of behavior rather than a result of peer influence.”

Full story of smoking influences at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education