Teens Who Use E-Cigarettes More Likely to Begin Smoking

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Marji_190815_3A new study published in JAMA suggests that adolescents who use electronic cigarettes may be more likely to begin smoking.

Researchers began the study back in 2013 where they issued a survey to 2,530 ninth-grade students from 10 public high schools in L.A. for one year. Each student reported that they never used combustible tobacco products, including cigarettes and cigars.

Follow-up surveys were issued after six months and 12 months. The surveys questioned whether the students had used combustible tobacco products over the previous six months and if so, how many different types were used.

At the beginning of the study, a total of 222 students reported having used e-cigarettes, compared to 2,308 who did not.

After six months, researchers discovered that 31% of students who reported using e-cigarettes also reported that they used combustible tobacco products compared with eight percent of those who had never used the product. After a 12-month period, 25% of participants who had used e-cigarettes reported they had used combustible tobacco products, compared to nine percent who never used e-cigarettes.

Researchers suggest that their findings show how, over time, e-cigarette use is associated with a higher risk of combustible tobacco use during early adolescence.

Study researchers conclude, “Some teens may be more likely to use e-cigarettes prior to combustible tobacco because of beliefs that e-cigarettes are not harmful or addictive, youth-targeted marketing, availability of e-cigarettes in flavors attractive to youths, and ease of accessing e-cigarettes due to either an absence or inconsistent enforcement of restrictions against sales to minors.”

Sources for Today’s Article:
Leventhal, A. M., et al., “Association of electronic cigarette use with initiation of combustible tobacco product smoking in early adolescence,” JAMA, doi:10.1001/jama.2015.8950, published online August 18, 2015, http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2428954.

McIntosh, J., “Study suggests e-cigarette use could lead to tobacco use in teens,” Medical News Today web site, August 19, 2015; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/298269.php.