Does smoking e-cigarettes cut down conventional tobacco use among teens?

September 1, 2014

Although some proponents of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) suggest that they may be effective as smoking cessation aids, use of e-cigarettes may actually encourage conventional cigarette use among adolescents.

 

Although some proponents of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) suggest that they may be effective as smoking cessation aids, use of e-cigarettes may actually encourage conventional cigarette use among adolescents. This conclusion emerged from analyses of survey data from a representative sample of US middle and high school students who completed the National Youth Tobacco Survey-more than 17,300 respondents in 2011 and 22,500 respondents in 2012.

Whereas in 2011 only 3.1% of the study sample had ever tried e-cigarettes, that percentage rose to 6.5% in 2012. Those who had ever smoked conventional cigarettes were more likely than those who had not to have tried e-cigarettes and to use them currently. Further, ever and currently smoking e-cigarettes highly increased the odds of experimenting with conventional cigarettes and lowered odds of abstinence from regular cigarettes (Dutra LM, et al. JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168[7]:610-617).

MS FREEDMAN is a freelance medical editor and writer in New Jersey. DR BURKE, section editor for Journal Club, is chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Saint Agnes Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland. The editors have nothing to disclose in regard to affiliations with or financial interests in any organizations that may have an interest in any part of this article.