A study found that teens who smoke regular and e-cigarettes are twice as likely to become heavy smokers by the time they leave school than those who smoke only tobacco.
Experts said using the devices as an additive to cigarettes is more likely to “inculcate” tobacco use in teens.
They found that frequent smoking—more than six cigarettes per week or 27 per month—was significantly higher in those who started smoking when they were under 15 years old.
By age 18, about 37% of those who smoked vapes were considered heavy smokers, compared to 23% of those who used only tobacco.
This showed that devices described as adult smoking cessation aids could be particularly harmful to young people, the researchers said, adding that “comprehensive steps need to be taken to limit teens’ access to e-cigarettes.”
A group of American researchers analyzed data on more than 1,000 British and almost 800 American teenagers who smoked before the age of 15.
Adolescents were regularly surveyed about their use of conventional and electronic cigarettes until the age of 17.
They found that over half of teen smokers also used e-cigarettes, at 57% and 58% of the UK and US populations, respectively.
It is estimated that teenagers in the UK who smoked both conventional and e-cigarettes in their early teens were 45% more likely to smoke in their late teens than those who did not.
They also found that teens who smoked in their early teens but didn’t use e-cigarettes were more likely to report no nicotine use in their late teens, according to findings published in the journal BMJ Tobacco Control.
They wrote, “Among young people who started smoking in their early teens, first-time e-cigarette users were more likely to use tobacco and vaping than those who smoked but did not use e-cigarettes.” associated with e-cigarettes include young people who smoke earlier.
Commenting on the study, John Britton of the University of Nottingham said: “This study concluded that the association between vaping and continued regular smoking in adolescents who began smoking at a very early age is consistent with the process of smoking habit formation through vaping.”
The researchers stressed that their findings were observational and that more research is needed.
Source: Daily Mail
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