E-cigarette use or vaping is considered to be a lot safer than traditional smoking, but new research suggests vaping may entice teens to take up smoking.
The study, which was published this week in the journal Tobacco Control, found a “robust” link between vaping and starting to smoke within a year in teens. For their research, scientists surveyed nearly 3,000 children from 20 schools in the U.K. Most of the volunteers were non-smokers, while a third had tried e-cigarettes.
Thirty four percent of the group that vaped reported having smoked at least one real cigarette within one year. Only 9 percent of the teens in the group of non-smokers that never vaped reported starting smoking within a year.
Lead author of the study Mark Conner underlined that the findings are a “strong indicator” that e-cigarette users tend to take up smoking or try conventional cigarettes within 12 months.
The research team couldn’t tell if the teens took up smoking over that period or just experimented with tobacco cigarettes. Researchers couldn’t tell either if the teens using e-cigarettes would have tried conventional tobacco products anyway.
However, researchers found that teens with no smoking friends would normally have the lowest risk of taking up smoking, but if they vaped that risk increased exponentially.
The study revealed that e-cigarette users with no smoking friends had a 4.5% higher risk of becoming smokers than non-e-cigarette-users with smoking friends. Co-author Sarah Grogan concluded that vaping boosts the risk of starting to smoke cigarettes in teens with no smoking friends.
Grogan noted this particular finding is at odds with the popular belief that-cigarette users end up smoking because of peer pressure from smokers in their network of friends.
Researchers speculate that the recently-found link between vaping and smoking may be due to nicotine addiction which is a real problem for e-cigarette users too.
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