• August 9, 2020

E-cigarette study suggests ‘gateway’ effect

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that use of e-cigarettes by youth who had not previously smoked could lead to use of combustible cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products.

The JAMA study examined whether teens who reported ever using e-cigarettes were more likely to initiate use of combustible (smoked) tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars and hookah.

The study involved 2,530 students from 10 public high schools in Los Angeles who reported never using combustible tobacco at the start of the study (when the students were in the nineth grade) and were re-assessed six months and 12 months later.

The researchers found that students who had ever used e-cigarettes (222 students at the start of the study) were more likely to report initiation of combustible tobacco use over the next year. These students were also more likely to initiate use of each individual combustible product, including cigarettes, cigars and hookah.

In April, the CDC reported that current (past-month) e-cigarette use among high school students jumped from 4.5 percent in 2013 to 13.4 percent in 2014. (It was 1.5 percent in 2011).

Current e-cigarette use now exceeds current use of regular cigarettes (9.2 percent of high school students smoked cigarettes in 2014).

The researchers did not evaluate the likelihood of e-cigarettes helping smokers quit their habit.

Read the full study here.