Health & Wellness

Teens Who Vape More Likely To Smoke Marijuana

Cannabis use among young people who use electronic cigarettes is three to four times higher than normal


By Jennifer Hughes

Photo: iStock/Tim Allen.


Vaping has been on the rise among Canadian teens in recent years, and a new study is now linking the use of electronic cigarettes with the use of marijuana. According to the report, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, adolescents and young adults who vape are three to four times more likely to use cannabis, as well.

The study looked at 21 earlier studies that involved approximately 130,000 people; its author’s noted that while such a study couldn’t prove definitively that vaping caused teens to take up cannabis smoking, their review established a link and the findings are consistent with earlier research that showed that the brains of adolescences are not as developed as those of adults and are therefore more vulnerable to addiction.

The report discovered that the probability of cannabis use was 3.5 times higher among teens and young adults who vaped than among those who didn’t use e-cigarettes. It also found that teens between the ages of 12 and 17 were more at risk than young adults between the ages of 18 and 24.

Vaping doesn’t necessarily lead directly to cannabis use. Instead, it seems likely that use of e-cigarettes leads youth to experiment with other forms of tobacco (i.e., traditional cigarettes) and other substances. Since tobacco is often mixed with cannabis, teens who smoke more likely to experiment with marijuana than those who don’t.

“We have a good reason to think that exposure to vaping is part of the cause of initiation to marijuana,” Dr. Nicholas Chadi, a co-author of the study, told CTV after the study’s publication. “These devices [e-cigarettes] are so addictive and well-made for youth that the youth fall into the trap; they develop a dependence and go find other sources of nicotine and other drugs.”