E-Cigarette Use on Rise with Teens

Will e-cigarettes be the gateway to cigarette use?

A recent study looked at patterns of cigarette and e-cigarette use among adolescents to determine the role that psychosocial factors play in the initial use of cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Most youth who reported e-cigarette use had friends who used them, and psychosocial variables indicating a favorable e-cigarette social environment were strongly associated with both cigarette and e-cigarette use.

Almost half of current e-cigarette users reported that they did not believe there were health risks associated with e-cigarettes. Study authors observed higher rates of e-cigarette use compared to cigarettes, with one-fourth of teens in the study reporting ever having used e-cigarettes and nearly 10 percent reporting current use, which is higher than the 5.7 percent of teens reporting current cigarette use.

The study points out that the high rate of e-cigarette use among adolescents is of concern because while tobacco control efforts have been successful in reducing teen smoking rates, e-cigarettes may lead to a “renormalization” of smoking. The question remains, will e-cigarettes be the gateway to cigarette use?