A new study adds to a growing body of evidence linking the use of electronic cigarettes and other non-cigarette tobacco products to future use of conventional cigarettes in teens. Using the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study population consisting of youth ages 12 to 17 years, the investigators studied use of noncigarette tobacco products among youths who had never used cigarettes at baseline, and assessed ever and past 30-day use of cigarettes one year later. The American Cancer Society also have resources to support your decision to stop using commercial tobacco, go to https://www.cancer.org/.
Among youth in the study who had tried more than one product at the start, 74 percent has used e-cigarettes and 65 percent had used a hookah. Adjusted for other smoking risk factors, those who initially reported having used a non-cigarette tobacco product were twice as likely to have smoked cigarettes during the past 30 days, and those who had used more than one type of product were almost four times as likely.
Among the small proportion of teens who had tried e-cigarettes at the start of the study, however, 19 percent had become smokers a year later, as had about 18 percent of hookah users. Participants were also asked if they had ever used non-cigarette tobacco products.
"To our knowledge, no prospective study has simultaneously estimated the associations of e-cigarette, cigar, hookah, and smokeless tobacco product use with subsequent cigarette smoking initiation", the researchers wrote.
The report, published Tuesday in JAMA Pediatrics, comes as e-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular among adolescents.
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"After adjusting for sociodemographic, environmental, and behavioral smoking risk factors and for baseline ever use of other tobacco products, the odds of past 30-day cigarette use at follow-up were approximately twice as high among baseline ever-users of e-cigarettes, non-cigarette combustible tobacco, and smokeless tobacco", the study reads.
"Products like e cigarettes are essentially gateways to smoking cigarettes", Chandler said. Polyuse of two or more noncigarette tobacco products was associated with greater odds of cigarette smoking.
Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky President Ben Chandler said these products basically fall into the same camp as cigarettes because both lead to future cigarette use. That's important because cigarette smoking rates have gone down in teens, which could be seen as a win by health advocates.
Funding for this research was provided by the U.S. National Cancer Institute and FDA Center for Tobacco Products, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.