25.0% were at an elevated risk for an eating disorder.
Titled, “Associations between vaping and eating disorder diagnosis and risk among college students,” the current study looked for associations between e-cigarette use in the past 30 days and a self-reported eating disorder diagnosis, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.

The research team found that among the sample, 19.0% reported vaping in 30 days, 3.7% self-reported any lifetime eating disorder diagnosis, and a general 25.0% were at an elevated risk for an eating disorder. “What we found was that those who engaged in vaping over the last 30 days were more likely to have any lifetime eating disorder diagnosis,” said lead study author Kyle T. Gansom, PhD, MSW.

“The reason for this is probably multifaceted,” Ganson says. “Certainly we know that people who have eating disorders are more likely to smoke cigarettes and more likely to use substances, in general. Using these substances, especially like vaping nicotine, can certainly affect disordered eating by having appetite suppressing effects and metabolic effects…which might help people reduce weight.”

In line with this, another recent study by researchers Kevin Tan and Douglas C. Smith, found that those teens who are less satisfied with their lives and seek out risky and exciting experiences are the ones more likely to use multiple illicit substances regularly, including nicotine via e-cigarettes. The study, indicated that the participants’ attitude towards vaping also reflected how they viewed other substances.

“Polysubstance users” scored the highest in sensation seeking

Those who considered vaping to be relatively harmless, were more likely to smoke, drink and use other drugs. Referred to “polysubstance users” by the researchers, these teens scored the highest on sensation seeking. Tan and Smith are professors of social work at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where Smith is also the director of the Center for Prevention Research and Development.

Polysubstance users comprised about 4% of the study sample, while a second group of teens, who were primarily marijuana users, but also dabbled with cigarettes or e-cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs, comprised about another 24%. The remaining 72% of teens in the sample were low-level users.

“We need more research on the true health effects of vaping, because the prevalence of it is way ahead of our knowledge about the consequences,” continued Smith. “Although e-cigarettes were initially marketed as devices to help smokers quit, that argument probably only applies to a small percentage of young people. In fact, there are risks to vaping, and for teens, e-cigarettes may be an initiation into nicotine addiction or into vaping marijuana.”

Focus on Teen Vaping Prevention is Negatively Affecting Adult Smoking Cessation Efforts

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