An electronic cigarette, most commonly known as e-cigarette, is a handheld electronic device that vaporizes different flavors of liquid. The health risks of e-cigarettes are uncertain. While these are considered safer than tobacco cigarettes, the long-term health effects are yet unknown.
The new study, published in the US journal JAMA, surveyed more than 3,000 students in Los Angeles County public schools, during the fall 2014 and spring 2015 semesters. The students are with 54 percent girls and baseline average age was 15.5 years. They were asked how often they had vaped or smoked in the previous 30 days.
"In this study of adolescents, vaping more frequently was associated with a higher risk of more frequent and heavy smoking six months later," Adam Leventhal from the University of Southern California and colleagues wrote in their paper. "The transition from vaping to smoking may warrant particular attention in tobacco control policy," the paper said.
According to Deccan Chronicle, the prevalence rates of past 30-day vaping and smoking were low overall. Smoking frequency at follow-up was proportionately greater with successively higher levels of baseline vaping. Similar trends were found for smoking heavily. Adjusting for baseline smoking, each increment higher on the 4-level baseline vaping frequency continuum was associated with proportionally higher odds of smoking at a greater level of frequency and heaviness by follow-up.
Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been one of the most relentless proponents of this idea. Since at least 2013, he has warned that e-cigarettes — despite their innocuous image — have the potential to get teens hooked on nicotine. Once they’re addicted, they’re more susceptible to trying regular cigarettes.
Nicotine is a potent parasympathomimetic alkaloid found in the nightshade family of plants and is a stimulant drug. It is a remarkably addictive drug. "The role of nicotine and generalisability of these results to other locations and ages, longer follow-up periods, and non-self-report assessments are unknown and merit further inquiry," researchers said.