Vaping in adolescence increases the chances of being a chronic smoker in adulthood

A study that analyzed the follow-up of young people carried out in the United Kingdom and the United States.

The consumption of tobacco in cigarettes and pipes causes heart attacks, cardiovascular attacks, pneumonia and cancer, among other diseases.

Although the level of this type of consumption is declining in the world, since 2003 electronic cigarettes have been advertised as an alternative to quit smoking and have attracted not only adults but also children and adolescents.

A new study, published in the trade journal Tobacco Control, following adolescents in the United States and the United Kingdom, has provided evidence to prove the opposite of the advertising claims. When they vape, teens increase their risk of becoming heavy smokers later in life.

Additionally, other research published in the journal Plos One found that e-cigarette use had declined during the early stage of the coronavirus pandemic.

But use is back to pre-pandemic levels among teens and young adults.
The use of electronic cigarettes was 27% higher in the second year of the pandemic (between April 2021 and April 2022), compared to the months of March to July 2020, when there were more accessibility restrictions, according to the work. by the team of Elizabeth Hair, of the Truth Initiative Schroeder Institute and the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Those 21 and older are more likely to use e-cigarettes than youth of the same age surveyed before the pandemic.

Several longitudinal studies have shown that e-cigarette use does increase the chances of starting tobacco use and becoming a regular smoker.

The team of scientists led by Jeremy Staff, from the Pennsylvania State University, in the US, considered that it was necessary to know how these devices could affect adolescents who started smoking at an early age.

Adolescents who smoke before the age of 15 are especially vulnerable to developing nicotine dependence, and the researchers wanted to find out if and how concurrent use of e-cigarettes might influence future smoking patterns in this group.

They were based on data from 1,893 adolescent smokers from two large, nationally representative cohort studies in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Participants were regularly surveyed about their vaping use and how often they smoked conventional cigarettes up to age 17.

Among teens who started using conventional cigarettes early in the UK, 57% said they also used vapers.

The equivalent figure for America’s first teen smokers was 58%.

By late adolescence, those who had smoked tobacco at the same time as vaping were more likely to continue smoking around age 18.

Among the UK participants, 61% of users were still smoking into their late teens, compared with 50% of non-smokers. The equivalent figures for the United States participants were 42% and 24%.

The odds of continuing to smoke into late adolescence among dual users were 45% higher than non-smokers in the United States and 119% higher than non-smokers in the United Kingdom, according to work published by the researchers in the journal Tobacco Control.

In addition, by late adolescence, frequent smoking – defined as more than 6 cigarettes a week or at least 27 – was almost twice as frequent among early-start smokers in the UK (37%) than among non-smokers (23%).