Study: Teens Were More Likely to Smoke Tobacco After Using E-Cigarettes

August 20, 2015|10:40 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

A recent observational study was conducted with 2,500 ninth graders in Los Angeles, none of whom had tried smokeable tobacco before, and 222 of whom said they had used an e-cigarette. After checking in with these students a year later, those who said they had previously tried an e-cigarette were three to four times more likely to have gone on to try smokeable tobacco products compared with students who had never used an e-cigarette.

While the study does not prove a cause-and-effect link, it is the first to show a potential link between teenagers’ use of e-cigarette “vaping” devices and use of smokeable tobacco products such as regular cigarettes, cigars, and hookah pipes.

The concern has been that the very devices being touted as an aid to quitting smoking among adults are causing young people and people of all ages to pick up the deadly habit. It’s what the state of California, in a recent awareness campaign, has dubbed “the next generation of addicts.”

Teenagers are trying e-cigarettes at a faster rate than adults, fueling some of the greatest increases in sales, according to Adam Leventhal, an associate professor of preventive medicine and psychology at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles. Leventhal authored this study, which was published in the Aug. 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

There currently are no federal regulations banning the sale or marketing of e-cigarettes to teens. Learn more in this recent news article.

ASTHO is tracking state-level policies and efforts regarding e-cigarettes. Visit our e-cigarettes page for more information.