Young adults who occasionally smoke cigarettes smoked more of them if they also used e-cigarettes, a new study found.
The report in Preventive Medicine said although tobacco companies thought the devices would lead to less cigarette sales, it actually had the opposite effect.
Those who vaped more reported smoking 18 percent more cigarettes, the study found.
Though smokers have been turning to electronic devices since they came on the market in 2007 as a healthier alternative to smoking tobacco, little is known about the long-term effects of the practice known as ‘vaping.’
A new study found that smoking e-cigarettes leads to smoking more tobacco cigarettes. There was an 18 percent increase in cigarettes smoked when a person vaped
ADULTS ARE UNSURE IF VAPING IS HARMFUL TO CHILDREN
One in three adults aren’t fully aware that electronic cigarette vapor is harmful to children, according to a new study.
Many adults are still unaware of this danger, although the US Surgeon General said e-cigarette vapor may expose children to nicotine and other harmful chemicals.
A new CDC study found this concerning because although the devices may be less toxic than traditional cigarette smoke, they still emit harmful substances into the air.
Long-term health effects of the ingredients and flavorings in e-cigarettes are unclear, causing the organization to encourage adults not to smoke around kids.
The CDC polled adults in an online survey in 2015, questioning them if they thought if there was any harm exposing children to secondhand e-cigarette vapor.
These battery-powered gadgets use a heating element that turns liquid nicotine and flavorings into vapor that users inhale, which also releases other chemicals as secondhand smoke.
Overall, just 5.3 percent of adults who participated thought there was ‘no harm’ to kids.
Using the battery-powered gadgets that heat liquid nicotine into vapor have skyrocketed since they became popular with teens.
E-cigarette use grew 900 percent among high school students from 2011 through 2015, according to a report from U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. The 2016 report declares e-cigarettes ‘unsafe’ for youth and young adults.
Lead author Neal Doran said: ‘The participants who were vaping ended up using more cigarettes. It’s actually a risk factor for increasing their cigarette use.’
‘They’re not using e-cigarettes to try to stop smoking,’ said Doran, a psychologist and psychiatry professor at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
The new study’s findings are ‘consistent with the worry that, regardless of whether vaping is itself unsafe, vaping causes worse outcomes because it leads to more consumption of cigarettes,’ Doran said.
Stanton Glantz, who directs the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, said the study ‘has tremendous policy implications.’
‘What this study shows very convincingly is that if they’re using e-cigarettes it’s actually leading them to smoke more conventional cigarettes, not less,’ he said.
Glantz was not involved with the new study, but the findings are consistent with those of previous research he conducted on adolescents.
‘The e-cigarettes are having the effect of stimulating conventional cigarette smoking,’ he said in a phone interview. ‘They’re propping up and reinforcing the conventional cigarette market.’
Doran and his team studied 319 Californians, ages 18 to 24. At the start, participants did not smoke daily but had smoked at least one cigarette in the prior six months. During the study, they reported their frequency of cigarette and e-cigarette use five times at three-month intervals.
There was an 18 percent increase in smoking cigarettes in those who vaped more, the study found.
‘In the larger scheme of things, e-cigarettes could be good, bad or neutral,’ Doran said. ‘I don’t think we know the answers yet. This is one of the ways in which they could be bad – by people increasing their cigarette use if they’re using both.’
THE END OF VAPING?
Teen vaping, which has been skyrocketing, fell dramatically last year in the United States, new figures have revealed.
A government survey suggests the number of high school and middle school students using electronic cigarettes fell to 2.2 million last year, from three million the year before.
Health officials have worried about the booming popularity of vaping products among kids and the potential impact on adult smoking rates in the future.
One possibility may be a growing push to ban sale of e-cigarettes to minors, including a federal regulation that took effect in August.
Another may be the influence of ad campaigns by the government and other organizations to discourage kids from smoking, the CDC said.
E-cigarettes may also be losing their novelty among teens.
Dual users may be exposed to more nicotine and wind up at risk for chronic tobacco use and dependence, the authors write. Previous studies have shown that e-cigarette use increases the risk of smoking tobacco-filled cigarettes.
Some prior studies suggest that e-cigarette vapor may be less toxic than traditional cigarette smoke. But electronic alternatives nonetheless release potentially hazardous chemicals.
Sales of vaping products are expected to reach $4.4 billion this year, according to Wells Fargo Securities analysts.
With flavors like bubble gum and chocolate peanut butter cup, e-cigarettes or vape pens are often packaged to appeal to youth, who experts believe are more vulnerable to becoming dependent on nicotine.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering banning flavored tobacco products. Residents opposed to the legislation recently argued that e-cigarettes help them smoke less.
But, Glantz said, ‘This paper shows exactly the opposite is true.’
Numbers released this month from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing declines in youth use of both cigarettes and e-cigarettes have led some to claim that as proof of the benefits of vaping.
But Doran and Glantz don’t see it that way.
Instead, Glantz said he views the smoking decreases as evidence of efforts to educate youth about the potential harms of e-cigarettes as well as the results of efforts to regulate e-cigarettes with clean-indoor air laws and minimum-age requirements.
States and local jurisdictions have imposed a patchwork of laws pertaining to the use of electronic cigarettes, and some states, including California, now tax vape products.
‘There’s this Wild West atmosphere with e-cigarettes, and there’s a lot of controversy and disagreement about whether they’re good or bad,’ Doran said.
‘If they’re harmless, and they help people quit, then they’re great. If they make it harder to quit and also encourage people to smoke cigarettes who would not have smoked otherwise, then they’re terrible,’ he said. ‘The truth probably lies in the middle, but where exactly is the key question.’