New study links teen vaping to smoking

SAN FRANCISCO, C.A. (WIVB) — All forms of non-cigarette tobacco — vaping, cigars, hookahs, chewing tobacco — appear to raise the risk for cigarette smoking in teens. That’s the headline from a new national study that looks at the trends of adolescent nicotine use.

“Those youth who use e-cigs are more likely to go on to smoke,” Dr. Benjamin Chaffee, the study’s senior author told News 4 during an interview conducted via Skype from the University of California San Francisco.

“It may be that youth who initially experiment with e-cigs perceiving this to be a safer way to experiment with nicotine, then become accustomed to nicotine and then seek it out in different forms down the road,” Chaffee said.

He admits peer pressure may also be a factor. “Or use of non-cigarette products may make cigarettes seem less harmful and more appealing than they did previously. All of these things are under investigation, and we’re quite interested to see what will hold up with more research,” Chaffee explained.

This study used data from a national sample of 10,000 teens across the country who were non-smokers.

The study checked backed with teens a year later. Among those who used e-cigs, hookahs, cigars or smokeless tobacco, close to 20 percent had started smoking traditional tobacco (within a year). “What we found across all of these different forms of non-cigarette tobacco is that every one of them was equally strong as a predictor of future smoking.”

It’s proof that parents may need to up the pressure of their own and talk to teens about the risks that come with nicotine. Research has shown roughly 90 percent of adult smokers had their first cigarette by the time they were 18.

This new study is published in the January issue of JAMA Pediatrics. Learn more here.

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