March 21, 2018

Are teen e-cigarette users more likely to smoke in the future?

12 January 2018, 09:12 | Lena Norman

Healthcast : A Study on Teenagers & Tobacco Use

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The health ministry's white paper on tobacco also pointed out that some e-cigarette products contain carcinogens that "could negatively affect the health" of users. Using the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study population consisting of youth ages 12 to 17 years, the investigators studied use of noncigarette tobacco products among youths who had never used cigarettes at baseline, and assessed ever and past 30-day use of cigarettes one year later.

Recently Dr. Samir Soneji from Dartmouth University and co-workers analyzed data from almost 12,000 adolescents to understand the extent of their online contact with tobacco products and the extent to which it may have affected their behavior. Louisiana is 47th out of 50 states for tobacco use, with over 22-percent of adults light up, one of the highest percentages in the nation.

A study in Pediatrics suggested teenagers are more likely to start smoking after viewing tobacco marketing online.

Relevant Reading: Assessing 30-day quantity-frequency of US adolescent cigarette smoking as a predictor of adult smoking 14 years later. "Non-cigarette tobacco use is increasing and could stimulate subsequent conventional cigarette smoking in youths".

Previous studies have also found evidence that e-cigarettes and other non-cigarette tobacco products are a gateway to conventional cigarette smoking in teens.

"We've seen the prevalence of youth cigarette smoking decrease over the past 20 years, but the rising popularity of these non-cigarette products is a fairly recent development that poses new questions for tobacco control and youth smoking prevention", lead study author Benjamin Chaffee, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, told CBS News. Then, at follow-up, they determined whether there were differences between those who did and didn't engage with respect to: frequency of initiation of tobacco use; increased frequency of use in the past 30 days; progression from use of only one tobacco product to multiple product uses; and cessation of tobacco product use.

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None of the participants had ever smoked traditional cigarettes prior to the start of the study. The results were adjusted for factors like sociodemographic and environmental smoking risk. "Regulation of these non-cigarette products should reflect the fact that all of them are associated with greater risk of youth smoking", he said.

And in another report released Tuesday, researchers said that almost 3 million American teens had been exposed to online marketing of tobacco, as cigarette manufacturers have shifted their marketing strategies from traditional forms of media to the internet.

The Food and Drug Administration banned sales of e-cigarettes to teens back in 2016.

"I'm perhaps surprised about how similar the relationships were for each product across the board", Watkins said.

"The healthiest alternative is always to be tobacco free", he said.

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