Vaping by underage teens is now considered an epidemic by some health experts, and multiple studies are being used to find out how mental health plays into this growing trend. One of these studies has just published results showing that teens with mental health issues are more likely to use e-cigarettes. Researchers found that teens who are coping with internalizing, or bottled up, problems, like anxiety and depression, tended to only use e-cigarettes. Teens with externalizing problems, like bullying, sensation-seeking, or being aggressive toward others, used both regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
Learning that teens who use e-cigarettes tend to have more internalizing problems could suggest that vaping is being used as a way to self-medicate for depression, anxiety, and related issues. According to Dr. Nicholas Chadi from Boston Children’s Hospital, “This is a two-way highway, where people with mental health problems are more likely to start using these substances, but the reverse is also true—people who start using these substances also have increased chances of developing mental health symptoms.”
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