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E-Cigarettes Encourage Youth To Use Tobacco Products, New Study Suggests

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E-cigarettes have been thought to be a healthier alternative to smoking and it is widely believed that e-cigarettes have helped reduce the number of youth smokers.

However, a new study conducted by University of California, San Francisco, reveals that it is attracting youths to smoke who may not have otherwise smoked any tobacco products.

An e-cigarette, or electronic cigarette, is a handheld electronic device that vaporizes a flavored liquid. The user inhales the flavored vapor and the act is often referred as vaping.

E-liquid, the liquid in the electronic cigarette, is usually made of nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerine, and different flavors. However, there are some e-liquids that do not contain any nicotine.

The Findings

Several other studies related to this topic suggest that youths who started with e-cigarettes are more likely to end up smoking traditional cigarettes.

The researchers of this particular study stressed on the point that they didn't come across any substantial evidence which proves that e-cigarettes have reduced the number of youth smokers. Moreover in 2014, the number of cigarettes used by adolescents in terms of both e-cigarette and traditional cigarette is much higher than it was used in 2009.

"While some of the kids using e-cigarettes were also smoking cigarettes, we found that kids who were at low risk of starting nicotine with cigarettes were using e-cigarettes," says Lauren Dutra, the lead author of the study.

Dutra added that any decrease in youth smoking has occurred largely due the result of tobacco control efforts, e-cigarettes has no part in it.

In this study, researchers analyzed the data of more than 140,000 middle and high school students who took part in the CDC's National Youth Tobacco Survey from 2004 to 2014. It was found that the number of youth smokers reduced in this decade, but not at the same pace after the arrival of e-cigarettes in the United States from 2007 to 2009.

"E-cigarettes are encouraging - not discouraging - youth to smoke and to consume nicotine, and are expanding the tobacco market," says Stanton A. Glantz, senior author of the study.

Researchers conclude that there are certain psychosocial characteristics of cigarette users that are not found in non-smokers. Smokers, unlike non-smokers are likely to live with fellow smokers and use clothes that bear a logo pertaining to the tobacco products.

In January, Tech Times reported on another study involving e-cigarettes which mentions the arrival of a new version of e-cigarettes, which can spark the desire of the youth to smoke just by seeing others use the device.

The current study was conducted by University Of California, San Francisco, and has been published in the online journal Pediatrics. The report will also be available in print for the February issue of the publication.

Photo: Lindsay Fox | Flickr

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