The study indicates that children who wouldn't normally smoke are taking up the vaping habit.
Despite the amount of young smokers declining, the introduction of e-cigarettes has not created a steeper decrease as many thought they would, indicating that many young people are lured in to start vaping despite not having smoked before.
Researchers conducted a study and, in the process, has brought up further concerns over the enticement of e-cigarettes in the younger populations. Initially introduced in 2007, vaping was hailed as a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes and a way of bridging the gap towards quitting for many.
However, the use of e-cigarettes among high school and middle school children has soared – tripling between 2013 and 2014. While conventional cigarette smoking is on the decrease, vaping is being taken up by many who would never have smoked in the first place.
If vaping was really driving away the need for smoking, a reflection would be seen in the acceleration of decreased numbers overall, however lead author of the study Lauren Dutra who was working at the University of California, San Francisco’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the time of the study, says this isn’t the case.
The study involved ongoing data collected from a federal survey looking at tobacco use among children in grades six to twelve. The results saw a steady decline but didn’t speed up once vaping devices were introduced suggesting kids are taking up the nicotine habit regardless.
In the past, many children took up smoking as a result of living with a parent or parents who smoked or as peer pressure from others to ‘look cool’. This isn’t true for vaping – many children who use e-cigarettes are not exposed to a smoking parent or family members.
“E-cigarette advocates have tried to argue that this is only because those teens who used e-cigarettes were high-risk people who were going to smoke anyway and their e-cigarette use had nothing to do with this,” explained Dr. Thomas Will, author of an accompanying editorial, said by email. “A number of studies have now specifically examined this hypothesis. In each case, the empirical results went against the confounding hypothesis, so we can be confident that the effect of e-cigarettes for contributing to uptake of smoking is a real effect and is not just due to a group of high-risk persons.”