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Study: E-cigarettes increase risk of smoking in youth

Electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, use has been on the rise significantly among adolescents and young adults since they were introduced in the United States in 2007.

By Amy Wallace
A new study has found that e-cigarette use increases the risk of cigarette smoking in adolescents and young adults. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/dc2b7fcdbd1ba48960e4128ff705b959/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
A new study has found that e-cigarette use increases the risk of cigarette smoking in adolescents and young adults. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

June 28 (UPI) -- Researchers at Dartmouth Norris Cotton Cancer Center have found that electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, use increases the risk of cigarette smoking in youth.

E-cigarette use now exceeds the rate of cigarette smoking in adolescents and young adults after steadily rising since the product was introduced in the United States in 2007.

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For the study, published June 26 in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers analyzed several published studies beginning with non-smoking youth, asking whether initial e-cigarette use increased the risk of transition to tobacco cigarette use.

The study showed a greater risk between initial e-cigarette use and later cigarette smoking.

Of the 17,389 adolescents and young adults age 14 to 30, e-cigarette use was associated with an increased risk of future cigarette smoking initiation.

"The finding is very consistent across studies," Dr. James Sargent, of Dartmouth University, said in a press release. "That along with the strength of the association makes it probable that e-cigarette use is one cause of cigarette smoking. E-cigarette use could affect population trends in youth smoking if use becomes more common, and that is the big public health concern."

Researchers theorized e-cigarette use leads to regular cigarette smoking because e-cigarettes mimic smoking behavior and the aerosol contains nicotine.

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