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Study: Teens Who Use E-Cigarettes Would Not Necessarily Have Taken Up Tobacco Products

​The high rate of e-cigarette use in adolescents suggests that e-cigarettes are not substituting for cigarettes, but that adolescents who would have not otherwise used tobacco products are picking up the habit, according to a study, “E-cigarettes, Cigarettes, and the Prevalence of Adolescent Tobacco Use,” published in the August 2016 Pediatrics (published online July 11.) The study followed 5,490 students in five cohorts of students through 12th grade, spanning 20 years, and recorded both “current users,” those who had used cigarettes or e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, and “ever users,” adolescents who had ever used a cigarette or e-cigarette.  Researchers concluded that the prevalence of current smoking among adolescents has decreased in both 11th and 12th grade students since 1995. However, the combined use of both cigarettes and e-cigarettes has reached similar or greater levels than the use of cigarettes at the start of the study. This data implies that those who would not have otherwise used tobacco products are using e-cigarettes. An additional commentary, “Potential Solutions to Electronic Cigarette Use Among Adolescents,” recommends further steps that can be taken to potentially lower e-cigarette usage, including policy interventions and increased education regarding their side effects.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.