Adolescents who use e-cigarettes are at a heightened risk for later cigarette use, a recent study found. Young people between 7th and 12th grades who have taken to vaping often feel that the practice is not dangerous since e-cigarettes contain nicotine, but not the tar or carbon monoxide that is present in regular tobacco cigarettes. A study from the University of Waterloo and the Wake Forest School of Medicine found that 10 percent of teenagers in this age bracket have reported vaping at one point or another.
Science Daily has more on the study, which used data from the Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey:
“While preliminary evidence suggests that e-cigarettes contain fewer toxic chemicals than traditional cigarettes, our findings suggest that a potential increase in harmful cigarette use may follow as e-cigarette use continues to rise among adolescent populations,” said [study co-author Bruce] Baskerville.
“This study supports the restricting of e-cigarette access to minors, which have been shown to have heightened risk to initiate smoking,” said Baskerville. “More research is needed in Canada on additional contributing risk factors as well as longitudinal data to evaluate the complex relationship between e-cigarette use and tobacco cigarette use in adolescence.”
According to the study, students who have tried vaping are 2.16 times more likely to be at risk for smoking traditional cigarettes. Cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ in the body and was until recently the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States (it has since been replaced by obesity). The CDC reports that smoking kills 480,000 people each year. That means it is responsible for one in every five deaths.