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Vaping Study Finds Youth Drawn to Flavors

NEW YORK — New research indicates that most teenagers are using electronic cigarettes and vapor products for the flavor and not the nicotine.

For a newly released study by the University of Michigan (U-M), researchers asked nearly 15,000 students in eighth, 10th and 12th grades about vaping. The 2015 Monitoring the Future Survey is part of an annual nationally representative study that is administered by U-M and sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Among youth in all three grades who had ever vaped, "just flavoring" was by far the most commonly vaped substance, with 59 to 62 percent of students reporting this answer in each grade. This answer was more common than all the others combined, said Richard Miech, the study's lead author.

Vaping of nicotine came in a second place at 20 percent to 22 percent among 10th- and 12th-grade students and 13 percent among eighth-grader students, according to the study.

In addition, vaping of marijuana was reported by 6- to 7-percent of students in all grades, and the remainder either did not know what they had last vaped (6 percent, 7 percent and 14 percent in grades 12, 10 and eight, respectively) or had vaped some other substance (1 percent or less in each grade).

"Messages aimed at curbing vaporizer and e-cigarette use among youth may not be successful if these messages center around the dangers of nicotine, given that most youth who vape do not believe they are using nicotine," Miech said.

The findings appear in the online journal Tobacco Control.

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