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Those Teens Who Vape Most Likely to Become Cigarette Smokers Later

  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    In 2012, Thomas Wills walked into a high school in Hawaii to distribute surveys and was surprised to find students vaping in class. Back then, he said, only a handful of students were smoking electronic cigarettes — a year later, nearly 30 percent of Hawaii high school students had tried them at least once.

    That reflects a broader national trend: a 2014 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 2 million high school students used e-cigarettes at least once in the prior month. But that trend might have a worrisome corollary. Teens who start with e-cigarettes are more likely to later smoke cigarettes, Wills’s group has found.

    In the study, Wills followed more than 2,000 Hawaiian high school students for a year. Teens who had never used e-cigarettes at the beginning of the study had a 5 percent likelihood of becoming smokers a year later; that likelihood rose to 10 to 20 percent for those who smoked e-cigarettes at the beginning. And more frequent use of e-cigarettes was associated with a higher likelihood of smoking later. Wills found that correlation held true even after he controlled for factors like age, gender, parental education, and rebelliousness. The findings were published Monday in the BMJ.

    The research confirms the results of earlier studies which have found that e-cigarette use correlates with subsequent cigarette smoking among adolescents. One caveat, however: some individuals who started smoking e-cigarettes might have become smokers later anyway, regardless of their e-cigarette usage. But Wills said that controlling for information about students’ demographics, personality, and upbringing, which he did, should mitigate that effect.

    Many of the health impacts of e-cigarettes are not well understood. That has led pediatricians to call for laws against e-cigarette sales to minors.

    But e-cigarettes can have benefits too, said Dr. Brian Primack, a professor and clinician at the University of Pittsburgh not involved with this study.

    “I certainly see adults who are able to cut down on the number of cigarettes they smoke because of e-cigarettes,” Primack said. “In a lot of ways we have to be able to celebrate that and encourage that. On the other hand, I’ve also seen in my clinical practice a lot of people who start to use e-cigarettes to try to stop smoking, and they end up just smoking more.”

    The next step for Willis’s group is answering the question of why students who vape are more likely to become smokers. He said that he has some preliminary results that show that e-cigarette use produces positive attitudes toward smoking, which he will be presenting at a conference next year.

    By Ike Swetlitze - MSN/Jan. 25, 2016
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. Alfa
    Sometimes I wonder what the sense is of studies like this. Why do we need a study to show what everyone knows? That e-cig smokers are more likely to become smokers because they try e-cigarettes because they are interested in smoking. If they would not have been using electronic cigarettes then most likely they would be using normal cigarettes from the start. Isn't that common sense?
    So what's the point of such study?

    Those Teens Who Vape Most Likely to Become Cigarette Smokers Later
    What a strange headline for a study that finds that e-cigarette users are more likely to smoke than non-smoker. Most likely does not equal more likely.
    A title like this makes me wonder if this is yet another study funded by the big tobacco. An industry which is seeing its golden goose killed off by e-cigarette use.
  2. Beenthere2Hippie
    You're fully right, Alfa. We live in a time where just one "study" release can be held as proof of most anything you choose it to represent. Some of the time, like this time, the journalists do not even manage to respectfully link to the source of their take on things.

    Here's the actual study:


    The original MSN headline is: Teens who vape are more likely to later try real cigarettes
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