E-cigarettes were introduced in order to discourage youngsters from smoking tobacco. But latest findings prove that they are actually attracting a new population of adolescents who might not otherwise have smoked tobacco products such as cigarettes. Research showed that the e-cigarettes attract low-risk adolescents, who have lower probability of using nicotine, to take up smoking.
The researchers did not come across any proof that e-cigarettes have reduced youth smoking. In fact, combined e-cigarette and cigarette use among teenagers in 2014 was higher than total cigarette use in 2009, they stated.
“The study didn’t find any evidence that e-cigarettes are causing youth smoking to decline” “recent declines in youth smoking are likely due to tobacco control efforts, not to e-cigarettes,” said Lauren Dutra, social scientist at RTI International — a not-for-profit research organisation based in North Carolina, US.
“E-cigarettes are encouraging — not discouraging — youth to smoke and to consume nicotine and are expanding the tobacco market,” said Stanton A. Glantz, Professor at University of California – San Francisco. Several previous studies have also reported that adolescents who start with e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke cigarettes religiously.
For the new study, the team examined survey data from more than 140,000 middle and high school teens who completed the CDC’s National Youth Tobacco Survey between 2004 and 2014.
The results showed that cigarette smoking among US adolescents declined during that decade, but did not decline faster after the advent of e-cigarettes in the US between 2007 and 2009.
The study was originally published online in the journal Pediatrics.