B.C. teens increased vape use when classes resumed in September: survey | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. teens increased vape use when classes resumed in September: survey

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March 15, 2021 - 5:13 PM

A new survey shows teens cut back on vaping early on in the COVID-19 pandemic but increased their use when they went back to school.

In June 2020, young people trained by the McCreary Centre Society surveyed 1,774 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18, according to a media release from the society. It found only 36 per cent of those who had ever vaped before had vaped in the previous three months, which was at the peak of the pandemic when B.C. schools were either closed or only partially open.

By September, when schools reopened, another 686 teens were surveyed and 55 per cent had vaped in the past three months. Many of those surveyed were different than in the June survey.

“The results also showed that around one in five youth (19%) reported that returning to school in September affected their vaping, most commonly because they were experiencing increased stress, or because they were again socializing with peers who vaped,” reads the release.

By December, when another 1,774 mostly different teens were surveyed, 60 per cent had vaped in the past three months.

These findings were amongst the 25 per cent to 34 per cent of teens who had vaped, meaning up to three-quarters of teens had never vaped.

Overall, for those who vaped, half of them said the pandemic had no effect on their vaping but 24 per cent said they stopped vaping during the pandemic and 16 per cent said they vaped less.

For those who were regular vapers, 36 per cent vaped every day and 34 per cent said they vaped within five minutes of waking up. Another 41 per cent vaped within six to 30 minutes of waking up.

While 64 per cent of those who vaped thought it had a negative effect on their health, 31 per cent said it made their social life better.

There has also been a lot of sharing of vaping devices during the pandemic.

“The fact that 56% of youth who vaped shared a vaping device during the pandemic is concerning to me,” McCreary’s executive director, Annie Smith said in the release.

One of the limitations of the study is the fact that not all the same teens were surveyed and it was not a balanced representation of the teens in the province. For example, residents of the Fraser Health regional were under-represented, the news release said.

McCreary Centre Society is a non-government, non-profit organization committed to improving the health of B.C. youth through research, evaluation and community-based projects.

The full survey can be seen here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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