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SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT

US high schoolers have less sex and do less drugs, but vape a lot more

A woman holds a Juul e-cigarette in this posed picture
Reuters/Ronen Zvulun
Extracurricular activities.
  • Dan Kopf
By Dan Kopf

Data editor

Published Last updated on This article is more than 2 years old.

American kids these days—they’re just so well behaved. They do less drugs and they have less sex. Unless you count Instagram and Snapchat, vaping is the only vice clearly on the rise among US teens.

According to data from a survey from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the use of nearly every major drug fell among 12th graders in the US over the past two decades. In 2018, about 40% fewer kids reported drinking alcohol in the last 30 days and 75% fewer reported smoking cigarettes than did in 2001. The percentage who reported having been drunk in the past 30 days almost halved, from 34% in 1997 to 18% in 2018. MDMA, often called “molly,” is also down (it’s not listed in the chart below due to a change in how the question was asked over the survey period). Marijuana use has remained about the same, making it the exception to the rule.

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