Teens who try electronic cigarettes have six times the odds of trying regular ones within two years than those who did not puff on the devices at all, according to a study that was published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
University of Southern California researcher Jessica Barrington-Trimis, lead author of the study, said it is feared that kids who try out e-cigarettes will more likely try out more dangerous types of tobacco products.
E-cigarettes are handheld electronic devices that vaporize a fluid which includes nicotine and a flavor component, and thus typically using them is called “vaping.”
The researchers grounded their conclusion on surveys conducted by USC involving around 300 high school students in southern California, noting that in 2014, about half of the students said they had at least tried an e-cigarette.
In a 2015 follow-up survey, about 40 percent of those who had tried an e-cigarette by the previous year had tried regular cigarettes.
On the other side, regarding teens who said on the first survey that they had no intention to smoke, the risk of moving from e-cigarettes to regular cigarettes by the next year was 10 times greater than those who never vaped.
Barrington-Trimis said the high risk among teens committed to not smoking “suggests this is not just occurring among kids who intended to smoke anyway.”
The survey participants were 11th and 12th grade students who all were least 18 years old by the second survey.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended in 2015 that the devices be regulated as tobacco products due to concerns they would lead teens to regular cigarettes and also expose their developing brains to nicotine.