JM | Nov 23, 2022

Senior citizens and disabled community vaping, says NCDA

Tamoy Ashman

Tamoy Ashman / Our Today


The National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) says it has been receiving reports that senior citizens and persons with disabilities are among those within Jamaica who are vaping.

Recently, the Council discovered, through a rapid assessment, that there is an increase in the use of substances such as Molly, vapes and edibles among students.

But, young people are not the only ones who are vaping.

According to research analyst at the NCDA, Uki Atkinson, senior citizens and people with disabilities are also vaping.

“We are told by [the senior citizen council] that there is a concern in terms of the increase in use of vaping among seniors in our population,” Atkinson told Our Today.

Uki Atkinson, research analyst from the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) (Photo: JIS)

Though she could not give details as to why there is a sudden increase, Atkinson added that the NCDA has the intention to partner with the senior citizens’ council to properly asses the situation.

In addition to senior citizens, she noted that people with disabilities are also using substances.

“There is also an increase in vaping in terms of the disability sector. They are saying that they are seeing more problems among people with disability in terms of vaping and all other kinds of drug use,” stated Atkinson.

She added that the disability sector is another group that the NCDA intends to target and stressed the importance of segmenting a population to assess who is being affected by substance use.

Vaping among seniors common

Vaping among seniors is not specific to Jamaica, with other countries such as the United States also seeing their seniors vaping.

In a research study done by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2019, 1,299 confirmed cases of vaping-related illness were recorded.

A total of 33 vaping related deaths were recorded by October 17, 2019, with roughly half of the deaths reported among senior citizens.

The CDC report also found that, among 342 people with vaping illnesses, 69 per cent of those over age 50 were admitted to hospital intensive-care units compared with 38 to 56 per cent of younger adults and teens.

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