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Health, Science & Tech

Young Vapers More Likely To Take Up Smoking, Study Says

Young people who vape are more likely to progress to smoking cigarettes even if they don’t initially intend to, according to a study published Tuesday in JAMA Pediatrics, a edition of the Journal of American Medical Association.

“Initial e-cigarette users were about eight times as likely to progress (to cigarettes) even when you controlled for factors like sensation seeking, parental smoking and friends smoking,” said Brian Primack, lead author of the study and director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health.

Researchers studied 694 people ages 16 to 26, the range in which young adults are most likely to take up dangerous substances. Primack said those are also the years in which substance abuse becomes a routine part of one’s life.

The study targeted e-cigarettes because they are more popular than traditional cigarettes among young people right now, according to an unrelated study published last month in the journal Pediatrics.

E-cigarettes come in colorful packaging with varied flavors.

“It’s potentially analogous to kids who start to drink alcoholic wine coolers, but you don’t continue to use those throughout your life,” Primack said. “They’re kind of a transition point, and then later on your having the shots of Jack Daniels.”

Primack worked with researchers from Dartmouth University. He says the study comes at a crucial time as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration thinks about how to regulate e-cigarettes.

“Studies like this one do raise some concerns that may make them more likely to think about things that are making these particularly attractive to young people like the flavorings (and) the lack of regulation around marketing,” he said. 

The study was funded by The National Cancer Institute. 

Essential Pittsburgh aired the above interview on September 10, 2015.  This article was originally published on September 8, 2015.