The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that electronic cigarettes or e-cigs encourage smoking in young people, especially college and school going teens.
A report, released on Monday by a team of researchers at CDC, provides evidence to the long debated point that the modern cigarettes are more tempting to nonsmokers, mainly youths, than the traditional ones. The CDC research also lends evidence to the argument that once the youths give a try to e-cigarettes they are more inclined to adopt them on regular basis.
The findings of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on e-cigarettes come a day after the American Heart Association issued a new policy statement on the electronic cigarettes in which it backed the product as the ‘last resort for smoker to quit’. However, the group has not recommended the product as a method for cessation of the smoking habit.
The CDC study is based on youth surveys conducted nationwide. During the study, the researchers found that over a quarter million nonsmoker teenagers and adolescents used an e-cig in 2013, which is a threefold rise from 2011.
Youths who were the first timers were nearly twice as likely to try a conventional cigarette in the following year as compared to those who had never given e-cigarette a try.
“We are very concerned about nicotine use among our youth, regardless of whether it comes from conventional cigarettes, e-cigarettes or other tobacco products. Not only is nicotine highly addictive, it can harm adolescent brain development,” Dr. Tim McAfee, director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, said in a statement.
For the CDC study, the researchers analyzed data from three years- 2011, 2012, and 2013 collected from the National Youth Tobacco Surveys of students in grades 6-12. Following analysis, they found that over 263,000 who had never smoked a regular cigarette used modern alternatives in 2013, a significant rise from 79,000 in 2011.
43.9 percent of the non-smoking youths who tried electronic cigarettes for the first time said they intended to smoke traditional cigarettes within the next year as compared to those 21.5 percent youths who had never used e-cigarettes.
The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April had proposed grouping of electronic-cigarettes as tobacco products with inclusion off warning labels and imposition of rules including ban on their sales to those under 18.
Attorneys General from 29 states had earlier this month urged the federal health body to strengthen smoking rules to keep the people, mainly youths, away from nicotine addiction.
The study was published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.