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Teens who use e-cigarettes often go on to smoke traditional cigarettes, according to the findings of a new study which focuses on the vaping habits of adolescents amid the growing nicotine addiction epidemic following the introduction of JUUL and other products widely promoted among the nation’s youths.
Researchers with Children’s National Hospital and the University of Texas at Austin indicate teens who vape often move on to traditional tobacco cigarettes, even if they had no prior intention of trying traditional cigarettes.
In a report published in the December issue of Pediatrics, researchers analyzed data for the waves 2 and 3 portions of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, which is a U.S. nationally representative prospective cohort study of tobacco use. Data collected for wave 2 was from 2014-2015 and wave 3 from 2015-2016.
The study included data from more than 8,000 U.S. teens ages 12 to 17, who had never smoked. This is one of the first national studies to identify which teens are most at risk of progressing from e-cigarette use to cigarette smoking.
Teens who had no intention of smoking cigarettes in the future, but used e-cigarettes, were four times likely to find themselves smoking cigarettes one year later, compared to teens who did not vape. This risk was the same as the teens who had said they planned to smoke cigarettes in the future.
“E-cigarette use is associated with increased odds of cigarette smoking among adolescents who had no previous smoking intention,” wrote study authors. “E-cigarette use may create intention to smoke and/or nicotine use disorder that lead to onset of cigarette smoking.”
In recent years, teen e-cigarette has risen dramatically after the introduction of JUUL vape pods and other similar products, which were aggressively marketed through social media influences and other efforts directed toward teens and young adults. This has resulted in a new generations of young Americans addicted to nicotine contained in the e-cigarettes.
Vaping has become the most popular form of tobacco use among teens, with prior studies finding teens who vape using nontraditional flavors or candy-like flavors are more likely to try tobacco cigarettes because they develop an addiction for the nicotine.
Studies indicate nicotine delivery rates are much higher for JUUL products than other e-cigarette brands. A separate study concluded JUUL e-cigarettes were designed intentionally to be more addictive for teens.
There are now a growing number of JUUL addiction lawsuits filed throughout the U.S., alleging that the manufacturer intentionally exploited teens and placed their desire for profits before the safety of minors and young adults. A number of school districts are also pursuing lawsuits, alleging that JUUL’s marketing tactics targeted teens, causing disruption during education and additional expenses for schools.