Are electronic cigarettes good or bad? This seems to be the never ending debate among field experts, as some studies blame these devices for the increase in teen and young adult smokers, whereas other studies praise these devices for helping older smokers quit the unhealthy habit.
A study published earlier this month in the journal JAMA Pediatrics has focused on the first issue. A group of researchers from Dartmouth University, the University of Oregon and the University of Pittsburgh surveyed 700 young individuals and concluded that electronic cigarettes are a sure gateway to traditional cigarettes, even if the individuals are completely against traditional cigarettes at first.
Electronic cigarettes are generally considered a healthier alternative as users only inhale a nicotine filled liquid, rather than burnt tobacco products that are well known causes of cancer.
Younger people are also drawn to electronic cigarettes because the liquid they vape often has a pleasant flavor – bubble gum, green apple, so on. A number of field experts have speculated that this attribute is a marketing strategy designed to introduce more teen and young adults to nicotine addiction.
And fact remains that these products have continued to increase in popularity ever since they became available on the market. Researchers have stated several times that they are not fully aware of how electronic cigarettes affect the human body and that minors should avoid them until experts learn more.
But an interesting pattern has emerged in the past few years – teens and young adults who have never tried a traditional cigarette, and have never been interested in trying a traditional cigarette, but have taken up vaping, sooner or later (usually sooner) end up smoking traditional cigarette. However, older smokers who are trying to quit are often successful is they replace traditional cigarette with electronic cigarettes.
The research team from the new study surveyed their subjects two (2) separate times. Once at the beginning of the investigation, and a second time a year after the initial questioning.
During the first faze, they looked at the smoking susceptibility, which was measured by asking them to answer two (2) questions – “If one of your friends offered you a cigarette, would you try it?” and “Do you think you will smoke a cigarette sometime in the next year?”.
Each of the subjects had to pick between “definitely no”, “definitely yes”, “probably no” and “probably yes”. The only subjects that were accepted in the study were the ones who picked “definitely no”, which left the researchers with 694 young individuals, 16 of which reported using electronic cigarettes in the past.
During the second faze, researchers asked their subjects the same questions and noticed that 11 out of the 16 electronic cigarettes users had started smoking traditional cigarettes in the year between surveys. And the other 5 subjects in this group did not answer “definitely no” the second time around.
As for the remaining 678 subjects who were not electronic cigarettes users during the first faze, 128 started using these products in the year between surveys, 63 did not answer “definitely no” the second time around, and 65 had already moved to traditional cigarettes.
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