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Teen Vaping May Double the Risk of Cigarette Smoking

by John Rosca / Sep 19, 2017 10:16 AM EDT
17 Facts About E-Cigarettes That Might Surprise You

A new study claims that teenagers who have tried e-cigarettes are more than twice as likely to take up cigarette smoking. The researchers say their results show that vaping, or using e-cigarettes, can be a gateway to regular cigarette smoking. But it is worth noting the possibility of the study showing that an individual propensity to try vaping is correlated with the propensity to try cigarette smoking, and is not necessarily causative.

Researchers from the University of Waterloo and the Wake Forest School of Medicine collaborated on the study, "Susceptibility to cigarette smoking among middle and high school e-cigarette users in Canada," published in the journal "Preventive Medicine." Drawing on data collected by the "2014/2015 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CSTADS)," the study noted that students in grades seven to 12 who reported trying an e-cigarette were 2.16 times more likely to also try cigarette smoking.

"While preliminary evidence suggests that e-cigarettes contain fewer toxic chemicals than traditional cigarettes, our findings suggest that a potential increase in harmful cigarette use may follow as e-cigarette use continues to rise among adolescent populations," said Bruce Baskerville, a co-author of the study, reports Science Daily.

Electronic cigarettes include nicotine in their ingredients, but they are considered less harmful than regular cigarettes because they do not contain such toxic substances as tar or carbon monoxide. In the UK, the Royal College of Physicians last year issued a report that claimed vaping was less hazardous to health than cigarette smoking. The report concluded that smokers should be encouraged to shift their preferences to e-cigarettes, says the Independent.

But fewer teens are trying either cigarette use or vaping, at least in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently observed that teen smoking was in decline in America, based on a 2016 survey. NBC News reports that this decline was connected to a drop in e-cigarette use among middle and high school students, which went down from 3 million in 2015 to under 2.2 million in 2016.

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