Reuters: Kids who use flavored e-cigs more likely to want to try cigarettes
U.S. kids who use flavored e-cigarettes more often intend to start smoking traditional cigarettes than kids who did not use flavored vapes, according to a 2014 national survey.
And among teens who already smoke cigarettes, those who also use flavored vapes have less intention to quit.
“Our study provided strong evidence for association between flavored e-cigarette use and susceptibility to smoking,” said lead author Hongying Dai of Children’s Mercy Kansas City. “Within never-smokers, we found flavored e-cigarette users were associated with high odds of intention to smoke cigarettes in the future.”
The researchers used the National Youth Tobacco Survey, a cross-sectional survey of kids in grades six through 12 in all 50 states. In 2014, about 22,000 students completed the survey, which included questions about using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.
They also answered questions about their current tobacco smoking status, history and intention for the future.
About three-quarters of kids had never smoked. But about 3 percent of those never-smokers had used an e-cigarette at least once in the previous month. More than half of those who had used e-cigarettes said they used flavorings like mint, alcohol, candy, fruit or chocolate.
Six percent of kids were current smokers and about half of these kids also used e-cigarettes, most often flavored ones, in the previous month, according to their responses.
Overall, about 60 percent of e-cigarette users chose flavored options.
Among never smokers, 58 percent of kids who used flavored vapes said they intended to start smoking traditional cigarettes, compared to 47 percent of kids who used non-flavored vapes and 20 percent of those who did not vape at all, as reported in Pediatrics.
For current smokers, 24 percent of those who also used flavored vapes intended to quit, compared to 34 percent of those who used non-flavored vapes and 33 percent of those who did not use vapes at all.
“Previous studies have investigated e-cigarette use but did not specialize on flavored e-cigarettes,” Dai told Reuters Health by email. “We found a majority of youth are particularly interested in flavored e-cigs.”
But all the studies so far that indicate e-cigarette use may lead to smoking for youth are based on one point in time or only one year of follow-up, she said. Longer-term studies would need to confirm those findings, she said.
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