Are e-cigarettes a gateway to regular cigarettes?
A new study has found that youngsters who have never tried regular cigarettes but have consumed e-cigarettes were likelier to crave the conventional cigarettes. Lead author of the study, Shanta Dube, associate professor at Georgia State University, studied 2011, 2012 and 2013 National Youth Tobacco surveys of middle and high school students. Among non-smoking youth who had ever used e-cigarettes, 43.9 perc ent said they intended to smoke conventional cigarettes within the next year, compared with 21.5 per cent of those who had never used e-cigarettes.
In addition, exposure to pro-tobacco advertising was associated with the intention to smoke among U.S. middle and high school students who reported never smoking. Dube said that there was need to continue focusing on the fact that youth were still developing and therefore were a vulnerable population and prone to experimenting and engaging in risk taking behaviours.
Currently e-cigarettes were unregulated and were sold in flavors such as Skittles, cotton candy, and the like, which could attract youth. Dube added that the important thing was that youngsters knew that e-cigarettes and conventional tobacco cigarettes were used exactly the same way, making it difficult for them to tell them apart. Youth exposure to e-cigarette use and pro-tobacco messaging creates an environment that could potentially undermine a half-century long effort to change social norms, thereby making youth susceptible to use cigarettes. The study is published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.
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