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‘Dripping.’ How Teens Are Starting to Use E-Cigarettes

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One in four high schoolers who use electronic cigarettes are inhaling vapors via an alternative technique known as “dripping,” according to Yale researchers.

“Dripping,” where e-cigarette users inhale vapors manually by dripping e-liquids directly onto the device’s battery-powered heating coils, instead of inhaling from the electronic cigarette’s mouthpiece, is gaining popularity among youth, despite the danger of a possible increase in exposure to toxins and nicotine.

The “dripping” method produces thicker clouds of vapor, a stronger hit in the back of the throat when inhaled, and a more pleasurable taste, according to the study, published online Feb. 6 in the journal Pediatrics.

For the study, researchers reviewed survey responses from 1,080 e-cigarette users at eight Connecticut high schools and learned that 26.1% had tried dripping.

“One of the concerns I have is when you are looking at the safety and risk of e-cigarettes, one really has to look at the risks of alternative uses also,” Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, the study’s lead author and a professor of psychiatry at Yale, said in a press release. “What we are discovering with our work with youth is that kids are actually using these electronic products for other behaviors, not just for vaping e-liquids from cartridges or tanks.”

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Write to Kate Samuelson at kate.samuelson@time.com