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The study titled, Susceptibility to cigarette smoking among middle and high school e-cigarette users in Canada, was carried out by researchers from the University of Waterloo and the Wake Forest School of Medicine, and published in Preventative Medicine.

The researchers extracted data from the Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey and concluded that students from grades seven to twelve who had tried vaping were twice as likely to move on to smoking.

Is it possible that adolescents who would try e-cigarettes are more likely to try their combustible counterparts because they have a tendency to experiment, rather than because they are addicted to nicotine?
“About 10% of the students had ever tried an e-cigarette. There were higher rates of ever e-cigarette use among students in grades 10–12 (12.5%) than those in grades 7–9 (7.3%). Students who had ever tried an e-cigarette had higher odds of susceptibility to cigarette smoking (adjusted odds ratio = 2.16, 95% confidence interval = 1.80–2.58) compared to those that had never tried an e-cigarette.” read the study abstract.

“Since e-cigarettes came on the market there has been a debate about whether their use may lead to cigarette smoking,” said co-author Bruce Baskerville. “The answer among adolescents is yes.” The co-author concluded that further research needs to be carried out on the matter.

But have researchers looked at the data from all angles… Have they differentiated between regular and experimental smoking? Is it possible that adolescents who would try e-cigarettes are more likely to try their combustible counterparts because they have a tendency to experiment, rather than because they are addicted to nicotine?

Is the tendency towards experimentation being left out of the equation?

A study published in the UK last month made exactly this point. The report titled Young People’s Use of E-Cigarettes across the United Kingdom: Findings from Five Surveys 2015–2017, was published earlier this month in The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

It comprised data collected between 2015 and 2017 from five large scale surveys, and in line with what previous studies have already shown, it indicated that despite the fact that young adults experiment with electronic cigarettes, most of the time this behaviour does not evolve into regular use. In fact regular e-cigarette use amongst young adults who have never smoked, remains significantly low.

“Recent studies have generated alarming headlines that e-cigarettes are leading to smoking. Our analysis of the latest surveys from all parts of the United Kingdom, involving thousands of teenagers shows clearly that for those teens who don’t smoke, e-cig experimentation is simply not translating into regular use.” Linda Bauld, Professor of Health Policy at the Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling

Linda Bauld who is a Professor of Health Policy at the Institute for Social Marketing at University of Stirling, and the lead author of this study said, “Recent studies have generated alarming headlines that e-cigarettes are leading to smoking. Our analysis of the latest surveys from all parts of the United Kingdom, involving thousands of teenagers shows clearly that for those teens who don’t smoke, e-cig experimentation is simply not translating into regular use.”

 

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