Current evidence indicates that the THC content of the marijuana available in the U.S. has…
Vape Pens May Lead to Greater Marijuana Abuse
As more states legalize marijuana, some adults have opted for portable pot vaporizers, or vape pens, to get high. The vaporizers don’t use fire so there’s no smoke and no odor, only water vapor. They fit easily in a pocket and can be used anywhere. But adults aren’t the only ones finding vape pens enticing, and some health professionals believe the devices could cause more marijuana abuse because the ease of use allows for more frequent use.
Pocket vape pens are as easy to carry around as lipstick in a purse or a pen in a pocket. The vaporizers can be filled with herbs and oils that don’t get you high, like with hookahs, or the oil can be processed from marijuana.
Bob Doyle, executive director of the Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance, says that the THC in vape pens is highly potent, meaning even greater risk of marijuana abuse.
Shop vendors confirm that vape pen sales are booming, and that manufacturers are producing newer varieties of vaporizers all the time.
Consumerism is all about making products more convenient and easy to use. The easier it is to use, the more frequently it can be used. Health officials fear that this ease of use could lead to addiction.
Doyle notes that in the most recent Colorado Division of Behavioral Health’s Healthy Kids survey of high school students, the statistics on marijuana and tobacco use rose with each grade level: 23 to 32 percent of the students surveyed had already smoked marijuana within the previous 30 days, and 12 to 17 percent had already smoked cigarettes.
According to Mason Tvert, co-founder of Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, vaporizers were developed as a way to keep the air cleaner for tobacco smokers. While vaporizers may be more considerate for non-marijuana users, it allows users to take marijuana into their body much more frequently because they no longer have the fear of getting caught.
While these vaporizers are marketed for adults, some shop owners admit that children are getting their hands on these devices. Jamie Erb, the manager of vaporizers store Discontent, says that the market is strong, especially with college students who love that vape pens are small and easy to carry around, and pipes are losing sales.
Doyle believes that pocket vape pens promote underage marijuana use because they’re so appealing and so easy to hide. Adolescents can get pocket vaporizers through older siblings, friends or through online purchases, and as a result they’re risking a life of substance abuse.
The Colorado survey indicates that substance use only becomes more enticing as users grow into adults. If children have access to easily-concealed devices that offer a high at an early age, will they have a more difficult time resisting those chemical charms as they grow older? Health specialists will undoubtedly keep their eye on the growing public use of psychoactive substances in our society, and will continue to offer education and support to those who become entangled in substance abuse.