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Study: E-cigarettes may encourage youth smoking

One network television news segment, several major newspapers and wire sources, numerous consumer medical websites, and foreign media outlets report that a study published online March 6 in JAMA Pediatrics reveals that adolescents who use electronic cigarettes have an increased likelihood of smoking conventional cigarettes. The results of the study contradict claims that e-cigarettes may help people stop smoking and further bolsters the argument that e-cigarettes may be the gateway for young people to smoke cigarettes, establishing an association between vaping and smoking.

The CBS Evening News (3/6, story 10, 0:15, Pelley) reported, “A study out today says that teenagers who use electronic cigarettes are more likely to smoke real ones and less likely to quit.”

The New York Times (3/7, A17, Tavernise, Subscription Publication) reports that adolescents using e-cigarettes “were also more likely to smoke heavily.” Study co-author Stanton Glantz, PhD, of the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF), “who has been critical of the devices, said the results suggested that the use of e-cigarettes was leading to less quitting, not more.” He stated, “The use of e-cigarettes does not discourage, and may encourage, conventional cigarette use among US adolescents.”

Bloomberg News (3/6, Chen) reported, “Youths who reported ever using an e-cigarette had six times the odds of smoking a traditional cigarette than those who never tried the device.” Researchers arrived at these conclusions after analyzing “data from the 2011 and 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Approximately “40,000 middle and high school students from about 200 schools across the US participated in the survey.”

The Cleveland Plain Dealer (3/7, Townsend) notes that the study, which “was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute,” also revealed that “cigarette smokers who had used e-cigarettes were more likely to report planning to quit smoking in the next year, but less likely to do so.”

The Huffington Post (3/7, Almendrala) reports that study co-author Lauren Dutra, ScD, at the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, “argues that this finding challenges the e-cigarette industry’s claims that vaping could lead to quitting.” However, “David Abrams, PhD, the executive director of the Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at the anti-smoking advocacy group Legacy, disputes Dutra’s conclusion and says the study doesn’t hold up.” Meanwhile, “the US Food and Drug Administration has yet to regulate e-cigarettes the way it does cigarettes or tobacco, leaving states and cities to come up with their own ordinances on how to restrict their sale and use.”

Also covering the story are Reuters (3/6, Clarke), the CBS News (3/7, Jaslow) website, the NPR (3/6, Neighmond) “Shots” blog, the Huffington Post (3/7, Almendrala), Time (3/7, Sifferlin), HealthDay (3/7, Marcus), Medscape (3/7, Cassels), AFP (3/7), and Modern Healthcare (3/7, Johnson, Subscription Publication).

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