Bridging the gap: Drug and alcohol screening in the adolescent trauma patient

Author(s): Francine Falvo, Alexis Schmid

Statement of the Problem: Vaping is a rising epidemic among children in the United States (US) and other countries. Vapes are electronic-cigarettes (E-cigarettes) through which chemicals such as nicotine or tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) are inhaled. Appealing flavors, high nicotine content, low costs, wide availability, and discreet design has dramatically halted the progress made in five decades against tobacco use. National Youth Surveys in the US have revealed an upward trend in e-cigarette use among youth over the past decade. The number of middle and high school students in the US using e-cigarettes rose from 2.1 million in 2017 to 3.6 million in 2018—a difference of about 1.5 million. Furthermore, tobacco-usage surveys may not capture the full scope of e-cigarette use because the survey questions have not contained the terms that youth recognize as e-cigarettes. Methodology: No observational data examining long term health effects of e-cigarettes exists. Findings: In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported over 1300 cases of severe acute lung damage, respiratory illnesses and addiction to vaping linked to the use of e-cigarette devices. Potential adverse effects of e-cigarettes are related to exposure to nicotine as well as other vapor components produced by the devices and risks of the actual device. Conclusion & Significance: Until further investigation into the cause of vaping-induced respiratory injury is complete, no conclusions can be drawn as to which compounds are the cause of injury. By identifying youth at risk, clinicians can provide counsel and highlight risks and harms associated with vaping and suggest opportunities for action. These may include the enforcement of age, sales and marketing