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article imageE-cigarette use rises among teenagers

By Tim Sandle     Mar 31, 2015 in Health
Many teenagers, including those who have never smoked traditional tobacco products, have begun experimenting with e-cigarettes.
Towards the end of 2014 U.S., the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has reported that use by teenagers of e-cigarettes is growing.
Electronic cigarettes mimic the effects of traditional cigarettes, producing a vapor that is less harmful than cigarette smoke. However, the vapor usually contains nicotine, which is the addictive substance in cigarettes. Moreover, a new laboratory study has raised safety concerns about e-cigarettes. The study examined the effect of vapor exposure in mice, and concluded that the longer-term use of e-cigarettes can affect the immune system.
A similar trend is occurring in the U.K., according to a new survey published in the journal BMC Public Health. The article is titled "Associations between e-cigarette access and smoking and drinking behaviours in teenagers."
The new survey notes that 16 percent of teenagers that had accessed e-cigarettes had never smoked conventional before. Another interesting finding was that e-cigarettes in general were more popular with teenage boys than girls.
There was also an association with alcohol. The study discovered that teenagers that drank alcohol at least weekly and binge drank were more likely to have accessed e-cigarettes.
The authors of the report express concerns that e-cigarettes are not being used, as the tobacco companies would suggest, to help with the cessation of smoking. Instead they are serving as replacements to tobacco, additions to smoking tobacco, or drawing in those who had not previously smoked before. They conclude: "There is an urgent need for controls on the promotion and sale of e-cigarettes to children. Findings suggest that e-cigarettes are being accessed by teenagers more for experimentation than smoking cessation."
Lead author, Professor Mark Bellis told the BBC: "To many people the numbers we've identified might come as a bit of a shock. This is just being drawn into a repertoire - another drug that people can use to experiment with rather than being seen as an alternative to tobacco."
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