To Your Health
March, 2019 (Vol. 13, Issue 03)
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E-Cigs: Reversing a Positive Trend

By Editorial Staff

For the past 40 years, adolescent cigarette use has been on a progressive decline. However, that positive trend may soon be reversing with e-cigarette use, which research suggests increases the likelihood that adolescent users will transition to traditional cigarette use.

In fact, according to the latest study, adolescents who use e-cigs before trying any traditional tobacco products are more than four times as likely to transition within a few years compared to teens who do not try e-cigs first. Sobering statistics – and just when it seemed as if we were making progress.

The study authors' conclusion, published along with their findings in JAMA Network open, emphasizes the damage of e-cig use among adolescents ages 12-15: "[W]e estimated that 21.8% of new ever cigarette use and 15.3% of current cigarette use in the US youth population may be attributable to initiating tobacco products through e-cigarette use. Comparatively, we estimate 12.8% of cigarette initiation and 13.7% of current use is attributable to the prior use of other noncigarette products. These estimates suggest that the proportion of smoking attributable to e-cigarettes may be larger than the proportion attributable to all other products combined."

The bottom line: Although e-cigs may be an effective way to transition current cigarette smokers (especially longtime smokers) away from cigarettes, evidence suggests among nonusers, particularly adolescents, their use may serve as nothing more than a gateway to cigarette smoking, potential addiction ... and a potential reversal of the positive trend away from cigarette use we've noted for so many years. Click here for more statistics and facts regarding the use of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products by adolescents.