Study of e-cigarettes in United Kingdom teenagers gives mixed smoke signals

Study of e-cigarettes in United Kingdom teenagers gives mixed smoke signals

E-cigarette use may also have 'normalised' any kind of nicotine use through developing addiction to it, but they point out that there is no direct evidence as yet to back this up.

It identified a "robust association" between e-cigarette use and the increased probability of smoking a cigarette within year.

The findings showed that among teenagers who at the start of the survey said they had never smoked cigarettes but had tried e-cigarettes, more than a third, or 34.4 percent, said a year later that they had tried cigarettes. "But it's not - smoking amongst young people in the United Kingdom is at an all-time low".

Professor Sarah Grogan, from Manchester Metropolitan University and a co-author on the study, said: "Adolescents who have used e-cigarettes and who initially have no friends who smoke may be at particular risk of starting to smoke cigarettes".

Speaking with TCTMD, Conner stressed that the study, which looked prospectively at kids ages 13 to 14 and followed them to ages 15 to 16, underscores the idea that young people are not using e-cigarettes in the same way as adults.

But the researchers call for caution in interpreting the survey data on which the findings are based: while vaping prevalence has increased in the United Kingdom, smoking prevalence has continued to fall, they point out. But the studies suggesting that experimentation with e-cigarettes may act as a gateway to smoking in adolescents have been carried out in the US.

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When first asked, around a third of students had ever tried e-cigarettes, and nearly half of those had never smoked.

The study's participants were asked how much and often they smoke or vape, as well as their attitude towards cigarettes. Some had tried tobacco but the vast majority were non-smokers. "What this suggests to us is that it might be those who are not normally at risk of smoking, by trying e-cigarettes, they're becoming exposed to others who smoke and through that, are normalized to smoking and go on to try cigarettes when they wouldn't normally have done so". Yet, the findings of the study were supported by similar studies from the U.S. where it was found that the use of e-cigarette is linked with cigarette use. Also, it is important to remain observant by close monitoring of the use of e-cigarettes in minors.

This is one of the first studies to reveal the patterns of cessation among e-cigarette users at a national level.

Research suggests, trying e-cigarettes makes children almost four times more likely to smoke tobacco within a year.

This is an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, something which the researchers are eager to emphasise. The new devices more closely mimic the way cigarettes work and the authors say there is a need for further research to see if they have an impact on young people taking up smoking.

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