Published: Fri, July 28, 2017
Medical | By Ismael Lynch

E-cigarettes 'likely to lead youngsters to tobacco'

E-cigarettes 'likely to lead youngsters to tobacco'

The global scientific community is divided over e-cigarettes and whether they are a useful public health tool as a nicotine replacement therapy or a potential "gateway" for young people to move on to start smoking tobacco.

The study authors have used a large data set to address whether e-cigarettes can help adults break the cigarette habit and they determined "e-cigarettes are helping smokers to quit", Warner said.

"This study, based on the largest representative sample of e-cigarette users to date, provides a strong case that e-cigarette use was associated with an increase in smoking cessation at the population level", it reads.

E-cigarette users were identified from the most recent survey, while smoking quit rates were obtained from those who had reported smoking cigarettes 12 months before the survey. The new study, published in BMJ medical journal, stands in contrast to previous studies suggesting that using e-cigarettes actually make it harder to quit.

The merits of e-cigarrettes need to be considered in tobacco control interventions, as smokers who use e-cigarettes are more likely to quit smoking successfully than those who don't, a study has recommended.

The results revealed that 65 per cent of vapers try to quit smoking versus 40 per cent of non-users.

"People should be open to consider e-cigarettes as a way to help them quit, especially if they have used everything else in the past", Zhu said.

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Reviewing survey responses from almost 25,000 current and former smokers in 2014-2015, Zhu and his colleagues found that "vapers" were more likely than nonusers to make a quit attempt (65 percent versus 40 percent).

To assess e-cigarette use and associated changes in population smoking cessation in the U.S., researchers analyzed data from U.S. Current Population Survey-Tobacco Use Supplement for 2001, 2003, 2006, 2010 and 2014.

A link was found between the use of the electronic devices by those who have never tried smoking and their first experimentation with cigarettes in the following year.

Regulation policies on e- cigarettes differ from country to country.

How safe are e-cigarettes? This supports the thesis that less strict control over e-cigarettes would be positive. As vaping becomes more popular, there's been a lot of debate over the role of e-cigs. However, many scientists agree that smokeless tobacco poses lower health risks than smoking, and some academics and public-health experts are pushing USA health agencies to provide the public with information on the relative risks of tobacco products. Food and Drug Administration finalized rules to regulate e-cigarettes.

One limitation of the study is that details on how participants actually stopped smoking weren't available.

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