Children’s Use Of E-Cigarettes, Other Noncigarette Tobacco Use, Often Go Unnoticed By Parents: Study

Parents are less likely to know their children are using tobacco products if they are vaping, according to the findings of a new study.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco warn if a teen uses traditional tobacco cigarettes, the parent is more likely to know the teen smokes compared to when the teen uses e-cigarettes.

In findings were published in the November issue of the journal Pediatrics, researchers evaluated data on more than 23,000 participants ages 12 to 17, focusing on teen reported use of tobacco and e-cigarettes and parental awareness.

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The data was taken from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study, and examined parent or guardian knowledge or suspicion of their child’s tobacco use. Use was categorized according to youth-reported categories: cigarette only, electronic cigarette only, smokeless tobacco only, non-cigarette combustible only, and poly use.

Data overall indicates non-cigarette tobacco use is increasing and more teens are using e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes have become the most popular form of tobacco use among teens, with 1-in-5 high schoolers vaping.

The new study examined rules of tobacco inside the home and whether parents talked with teens about not using tobacco, and whether that home situation can be used to predict youth tobacco use after one to three years.

The study reexamined parental knowledge or suspicion of their children’s tobacco use and associations of household tobacco-free rules.

According to the findings, parents were more likely to know their teen smoked if the teen used traditional tobacco cigarettes. Parents were much less likely to be aware their teen used tobacco products if the teen only vaped or used smokeless tobacco products.

Teen were less likely to use tobacco if the teen and parents both agreed on rules in the house prohibiting tobacco use completely throughout the house.

However, teens were more likely to begin using tobacco if the parents simply discussed tobacco use in general and advised them not to use tobacco products, but placed no specific rules.

Talking explicitly to teens about not using any type of tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, helped to discourage teen use of any type of tobacco product overall.

“Many parents are unaware of their children’s non-cigarette tobacco use,” wrote study authors. “Setting expectations for tobacco-free environments appears more effective at preventing youth tobacco initiation than parents advising children not to use tobacco.”

As a result of increasing e-cigarette use, there is now an epidemic of vaping and teens addicted to JUUL, the leading e-cigarette brand, in the United States, leading to bans on certain flavored products designed to appeal to minors.

A growing number of vaping injury lawsuits continue to be filed against JUUL and the makers of other e-cigarettes, not only involving problems with severe lung damage, but also alleging that the products resulted in life-long nicotine addictions and other injuries.


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