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E-Cigarettes May Encourage Use of Conventional Cigarettes Among Teens — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
March 7, 2014

E-Cigarettes May Encourage Use of Conventional Cigarettes Among Teens

By Amy Orciari Herman

Adolescents who use electronic cigarettes are more likely than nonusers to smoke conventional cigarettes, according to a cross-sectional study in JAMA Pediatrics.

Researchers examined National Youth Tobacco Survey data on some 40,000 middle and high school students from 2011 and 2012. Rates of current e-cigarette use doubled during that time period (from 1% to 2%).

Among students who had ever tried conventional cigarettes, current e-cigarette use correlated positively with ever having smoked 100 or more conventional cigarettes (odds ratio, 7.4) and with current smoking (OR, 7.9). In addition, among current conventional smokers, concurrent e-cigarette use was associated with heavier smoking.

The researchers conclude: "These results suggest that e-cigarette use is aggravating rather than ameliorating the tobacco epidemic among youths." A researcher from the American Cancer Society, however, is skeptical: "The data in this study do not allow many of the broad conclusions that it draws," he told the New York Times. For example, it's possible that adolescents who use e-cigarettes are heavier smokers to begin with.

Reader Comments (3)

Patrick Devine Houston

While this may be true for teens, my 33 yr old son, who smoked for 14 yrs quit smoking after using ecigs for three weeks. There seems to be so much negative news, but very little positive. I wonder if this is just an urge to condemn anything related to tobacco

mohammad ashori Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice

I feel that such studies do the opposite of empowering our patients. With proper education (and nowadays that's fairly prevalent) most teenagers are aware of risks of smoking. There is no way of escaping tabacco products. There will be many, many forms of nicotine to come in the future. To say that e-cigarettes (a really unintelligent way of referring to these products by the way) may lead to increase in use of cigarettes is just superfluous information. I believe that the majority of those who "will" smoke will smoke. I'm not saying that education doesn't help, it has been proven to help. But making these correlations just somehow irks me. So there, I've said my piece, and I'm less irked. I need a drag off my e-cigarette.

J ROSS HESTER Other Healthcare Professional, Psychiatry, Edcom Associates Holistic Health

The concept of putting an object in your mouth to relieve stress or boredom was originally anchored to the breast and being held. Thumbs were the first surrogate but lack social acceptance. Add nicotinic receptor stimulation and relative social acceptance and you have a gateway to higher use and more deadly products.

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