A recent research has found out that more teens use e-cigarettes than traditional, tobacco cigarettes or any other tobacco product. This research, a U.S national study showed that e-cigarettes surpass the traditional tobacco cigarettes in popularity especially among the teens.
The findings of this study came from the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study, a study which tracks trends in substance use among students in 8th, 10th and 12th grades. It is not a once off study as it is done each year the nationally. This finding came as the body was working on its 40th year. This study surveyed 40,000 to 50,000 students in about 400 secondary schools throughout the United States.
“As one of the newest smoking-type products in recent years, e-cigarettes have made rapid inroads into the lives of American adolescents,” said Richard Miech, a senior investigator of the study.
In the survey the students were asked whether they had used an e-cigarette or a tobacco cigarette in the past 30 days. More than twice as many 8th- and 10th-graders reported using e-cigarettes as reported using tobacco cigarettes. This shows just how popular the e-cigarettes are to the U.S Teens.
The number of students who had used e-cigarettes in the post 30 days was even higher than those who had used traditional tobacco cigarettes. Of the 8th graders 9 percent had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days while only 4 percent had used the traditional tobacco cigarettes within the same time. In 10th grade, 16 percent reported using an e-cigarette and 7 percent reported using a tobacco cigarette. Among 12th-graders, 17 percent reported e-cigarette use and 14 percent reported use of a tobacco cigarette. However the older teens report less difference in use of e-cigarettes versus tobacco cigarettes.
there might be other reasons why the e-cigarettes have gained so much popularity among the teens but as Lloyd Johnston, principal investigator of the project of the project puts it.; it may be because the e-cigarettes being relatively new. He opines that the 12th graders are not so much into the e-cigarettes as the lower graders since they were not introduced to the e-cigarettes while they were younger. He however relies on future surveys to reach a conclusion on this.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices with a heating element. They produce an aerosol, or vapor, that users inhale. Usually, this vapor contains nicotine, although the specific contents of the vapor are proprietary and are not regulated. The liquid that is vaporized in e-cigarettes comes in hundreds of flavors. Some of these flavors, such as bubble gum and milk chocolate cream, are likely attractive to younger teens.
Despite their alluring characteristic, the e-cigarettes may serve as a point of entry into the use of nicotine, an addictive drug. The percentages of past 30-day e-cigarette users who have never smoked a tobacco cigarette in their life range from 4 percent to 7 percent in 8th, 10th and 12th grades. Nicotine is an addictive drug and the easy access of the e-cigarettes may propel the youths to nicotine addiction at younger age.
The e-cigarettes have become a primary source of nicotine to the teens; it is not a supplement to tobacco, most of the teens using e-cigarettes have never used the traditional tobacco cigarettes. The study is however yet to find out if the teens who use e-cigarettes exclusively later go on to become tobacco cigarette smokers. An insight in this will be of great help to the public health as lots will be done to mitigate nicotine addiction to the teens that may make them use tobacco cigarettes later.
The study reports that e-cigarette use among youth leads to a long-term decline in the use of tobacco cigarettes, which is at a historic low in the life of the study—now in its 40th year. In 2014, the prevalence of smoking tobacco cigarettes in the past 30 days was 8 percent for students in 8th, 10th and 12th grades combined. This is a significant decline from 10 percent in 2013, and is less than a third of the most recent high of 28 percent in 1998. The decline to the use of traditional tobacco cigarettes can be attributed to the fact that fewer young people today have ever started to smoke tobacco cigarettes. In 2014, only 23 percent of students had ever tried tobacco cigarettes, as compared to 56 percent in 1998. However the researchers are worried that the e-cigarettes may lead tobacco smoking and lead to increase in the use of tobacco cigarettes which are more harmful.
“Part of the reason for the popularity of e-cigarettes is the perception among teens that they do not harm health,” Miech said.
Most students believe that e-cigarettes do not harm health. In this study only 15 percent of 8th-graders think there is a great risk of people harming themselves with regular use of e-cigarettes. This compares to 62 percent of 8th-graders who think there is a great risk of people harming themselves by smoking one or more packs of tobacco cigarettes a day. The teens are not quite aware of some of the health problems that may arise due to long-term use of e-cigarettes. This may be as a result of the fact that e-cigarettes are new and hence no comprehensive health impact assessment has ever been done on their use.
In spite of the rising use of e-cigarettes, it is good to note that it may lead to nicotine addiction which is just as harmful as any other addiction. Dr. Dalal Akoury of AWAREmed Health and Wellness Center has dedicated her life to helping addicts restore their lives by use of integrative medicine. Call her on (843) 213-1480 for help.