A new study has shown that electronic cigarettes lead teens and young adults to traditional smoking, making many wonder whether or not these products are still worth being thought of as healthier.
A team of researchers from several universities tracked the “progress” of almost 700 young individuals over the course of a year. They noticed that the subjects who had never smoked a traditional cigarette, and never showed any interest for the habit, were much more likely to give into the vice after using electronic cigarettes
Field experts say that electronic cigarettes are healthier than traditional cigarettes because users have to heat up a nicotine filled liquid and inhale it as a vapor, rather than consume burnt tobacco-based products which are notorious for causing cancer.
Young people also find electronic cigarettes appealing as their liquid often contains pleasant flavors such as bubble gun or green apple. Some experts believe that this is a deliberate marketing strategy to introduce more youth to nicotine addiction.
Electronic cigarettes have increased steadily in popularity in recent years, and field experts have often debated if these products benefit or harm their users, and whether or not they should be regulated like every other tobacco product.
The answer isn’t an easy one as other studies have found that electronic cigarettes help traditional smokers quit the unhealthy habit. One key difference seems to be that traditional smokers who turn to electronic cigarettes for help in quitting are generally full grown adult smokers, whereas the non-smokers who start out using electronic cigarettes, then move on to traditional cigarettes are generally teens and young adults.
For the new study, researchers from the University of Oregon, the University of Pittsburgh and Dartmouth University examined the smoking susceptibility that each of the 700 subjects had. To determine this, the research team asked two (2) questions – “If one of your friends offered you a cigarette, would you try it?” and “Do you think you will smoke a cigarette sometime in the next year?”.
The subjects had to chose between “definitely no”, “probably no”, “probably yes”, and “definitely yes”. Only the subjects who chose “definitely no” were included in the study. There were 694 of them, and only 16 of these subtracts had used electronic cigarettes prior to the study.
The researchers surveyed their subjects a year later in order to see whether any of them had moved on to traditional cigarettes. The results showed that 11 of the 16 electronic cigarettes users had taken up traditional smoking. This is the equivalent of 69 percent (69%). As for the remaining 5 subjects, they no longer answered “definitely no”.
And out of the 678 subjects who had not used electronic cigarettes prior to the study, 128 of them started using electronic cigarettes, 63 of them no longer answered “definitely no”, and 65 of them started using traditional cigarettes.
The researchers concluded that the results of their study “raise concerns that the many adolescents and young adults who initiate nicotine use through e-cigarettes are at substantially increased risk for later use of cigarettes, even if they do not intend to smoke cigarettes in the future”.
The findings were published recently, in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
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