Up to 60% of students in some schools vaped in past month

Sean Mccabe head shotVaping is most heavily concentrated in U.S. schools with a higher proportion of white students, schools in the South and West, and schools where more students smoke cigarettes, a new University of Michigan study shows.

Overall, more than one in 10 American middle and high school students report having used e-cigarettes within the last month. In certain schools, as many as 60% of students said they vaped during that time.

It’s useful to look at vaping prevalence at both the individual and school levels, because each uses different variables, said study author Sean Esteban McCabe, Ph.D., professor at the U-M School of Nursing and co-director of the Center for the Study of Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking and Health (DASH). School-level prevalence does not suggest that more students are vaping overall, but rather that vaping is more popular in certain schools.

Most e-cigarette studies examine individual-level use, but school-level use trends matter because during adolescence, peers are a major influence, McCabe said.Philip Veliz head shot

“Imagine how different a school environment would be to a teenager if none of their peers were vaping, compared to three out of every five of their peers,” he said. “These would feel like two different worlds to a teenager.”

Also, the more a teenager’s peers have e-cigarettes or vaping devices, the greater the opportunity to access these products, said co-author Philip Veliz, Ph.D., research assistant professor of nursing.

“Greater availability of these products puts others at greater risk of using these products,” he said.

 Read the full story from Michigan News, and check out a Q&A with Veliz about using shelter in place as an opportunity to talk to youth about vaping.