But study finds use of propellants, like computer-cleaning sprays, becoming more popular
TUESDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- A new U.S. study suggests that while one-third fewer teens are turning to inhalants to get high, more youths are now using propellants, such as aerosol sprays designed to clean electronics like computer keyboards.
The results don't present a full picture of inhalant use because researchers only looked at cases reported to poison control centers. Still, the finding about propellants is significant, said study co-author Dr. Toby Litovitz.
"Parents should be aware that these readily available products are likely to be abused," said Litovitz, executive and medical director of the National Capital Poison Center, in Washington D.C.
Inhalant users can experience mind-altering effects when they inhale chemical vapors. "Glue sniffers" are perhaps most familiar to the public, but users try to inhale a wide range of other common products, from gasoline to deodorant sprays.
The study authors examined statistics from poison control centers in the United States and found 35,453 cases of inhalant abuse reported between 1993 and 2008.
During that time, the number of annual cases fell by one-third. National surveys also suggest that inhalant use has gone down since the mid-1990s, said University of Michigan research scientist Lloyd D. Johnston, who studies inhalant use.
But in contrast to national surveys that suggest that males and females use inhalants almost equally, almost three-quarters of the cases reported to poison control centers were among males.
Abusers tried to inhale more than 3,400 different products. Almost 16 percent of cases involved propellants, mainly computer and electronics duster sprays.
Other types of commonly used inhalants included gasoline, paint (particularly spray paint), paint thinner, lighter fluid and aerosol air fresheners.
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