A vaping smoking study shows that teenagers who frequently use electronic cigarettes are more likely to take up smoking.
The study, which was published on Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, examined whether e-cigarettes can be an effective smoking cessation tool, Reuters noted.
“Our most recent study is the first to show that teenagers who vape not only experiment with cigarettes, but are also more likely to become regular smokers,” said Adam Leventhal, the author of the study and a director of the University of South California’s Emotion and Addiction Laboratory in Los Angeles, according to Reuters.
“It is also the first time teenage vaping has been linked to heavier smoking patterns involving use of multiple cigarettes per day,” he added.
According to The Christian Science Monitor, the study included a survey of more than 3,000 students in Los Angeles public schools.
“It’s such an emerging public health issue,” Leventhal told Time magazine. “These teens aren’t just experimenting — a significant portion are progressing to more regular levels of smoking.”
Vaping has been seen as a safer alternative to traditional cigarette smoking, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has criticized vaping as a "gateway drug," the CSM reported.
According to the study, researchers have said that out of the more than 3,000 teens that makeup the study, “one-third of sophomores had tried an e-cigarette at least once, and 5 percent said they vaped more than twice in the past month,” CSM noted.
Six months later, in continuing the study, researchers found that 20 percent of teens who smoke e-cigarettes quite frequently had developed smoking habits, and 12 percent became regular smokers, CSM noted.
Leventhal compared this to teens who pick up smoking without ever trying e-cigarettes.
“Compare that to teens who had never vaped: when they start smoking, the nicotine might be unpleasant to them because they’re not used to it,” he said, according to CSM, adding that using products that don’t contain nicotine will make teenagers “more inclined to experiment with other tobacco products.”
In the summer, the FDA began pushing for a ban that would eventually prevent minors from being able to purchase e-cigarettes, according to CSM, as they argued that the vaper cigarettes “could entice young people to pick up smoking.”
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