Study reveals e-cigarettes may also be ‘gateway’ to cigarettes for teens with no prior intention to smoke – health


E-cigarette use is associated with a higher risk of cigarette smoking among adolescents who had no prior intention of taking up conventional smoking, propose the findings of a new study.

These findings have strong implications for practice and policy, researches say.

Cigarette smoking remains a leading preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in america. And while adolescent cigarette smoking has declined during the last several decades, e-cigarette use presents a new risk for nicotine use disorder.

“Research is showing us that adolescent e-cigarette users who progress to cigarette smoking aren’t simply those who would have ended up smoking cigarette besides,” says Olusegun Owotomo, M.D., PhD, M.P.H., the study’s lead creator and a pediatric resident at Children’s National Hospital. “Our study shows that e-cigarettes can predispose adolescents to cigarette smoking, even when they have got no prior intentions to take action.”

In one of the crucial first theory-guided nationally representative studies to identify which adolescent e-cigarette users are at most risk of progressing to cigarette smoking, Researchers looked at data of more than 8,000 U.S. adolescents, ages 12-17, who had never smoked. The data was once collected by the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study, an NIH and FDA collaborative nationally representative prospective cohort study of tobacco use, from 2014-2016. Among adolescents who did not intend to smoke cigarettes one day, those who used e-cigarettes were more than four times much more likely to begin smoking cigarettes one year later compared to those that did not use e-cigarettes.

E-cigarette use constitutes a moderately new risk factor for nicotine use disorder among U.S. adolescents. A 2019 study from the Centers for Diseases Keep an eye on and Prevention found that 28% of highschool students and 11% of middle school students were current e-cigarette users. With the recent emergence of newer and potentially highly addictive e-cigarette products, adolescents who use e-cigarettes are at increased risk of developing nicotine use disorder and progressing to smoke conventional cigarettes.

“Abstinence from e-cigarettes can offer protection to teens from fitting future smokers and will have to be framed as a smoking prevention strategy by all concerned stakeholders,” says Dr Owotomo.

“Pediatricians are best positioned to educate patients and families on the clinical and psychosocial consequences of e-cigarette use and will have to toughen education campaigns and advocacy efforts geared to discourage adolescent e-cigarette use.”

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)

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