Teens who use vaping pens would eventually smoke cigarettes, a new study has revealed.
Researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) have found that older teens who try using e-cigarettes and vaping pens are six times more likely to smoke traditional cigarettes within two years compared to those who have never puffed before.
The results of the study came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report of the latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey showing that as much as 40 percent of high school students are using vaping pens and e-cigarettes on a regular basis.
"We're concerned that kids who experiment with e-cigarettes may be moving on to other types of tobacco products, like combustible cigarettes, which are arguably a lot more dangerous,"
said lead researcher Jessica Barrington-Trimis.
For their study, USC researchers surveyed 300 high school students in southern California. In 2014, about 50 percent of the students reported to have tried, at least once, to smoke an e-cigarette.
A year later, a follow-up showed that about 40 percent of those who tried the e-cigarette have also tried to smoke regular cigarettes. This is in comparison with nearly 11 percent who have not smoked e-cigarette in the earlier survey.
After considering other factors such as ethnicity, gender, parental education and grade, the researchers established that the teens who have had prior experience of vaping are six times more likely to shift to cigarette smoking.
Not Regular Vapers
Boston University School of Public Health professor Michael Siegel, who was not part of the study, said the study lacks the evidence that vaping indeed causes shift to traditional smoking. He explained that it did not indicate how many times the teens had vaped in the initial survey — there was a mention of trying the e-cigarettes once. Siegel was the proponent of the use of e-cigarette as a means of slowly weaning off smokers.
Siegel argued that the teens did not become regular users of vapers, which is the reason why they smoked cigarettes.
"If they turned unto regular vapers, they wouldn't have turned to smoking," said Siegel
Just last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration strengthened its regulations by allowing sale of e-cigarettes to those 18 years and above only.
Likewise, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has earlier recommended the e-cigarettes undergo regulation as a tobacco product. The AAP expressed concern that early exposure to nicotine may significantly affect the teens' developing brains.
The details of the study were published in the journal Pediatrics on June 13.