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Low cost and desire to quit smoking spur prolonged e-cigarette use among youth

Posted August 8, 2016

Youth who continue to use e-cigarettes tend to cite low cost and desire to quit smoking as reasons for vaping, according to a study by Yale researchers published online Aug. 8 in the journal Pediatrics.

An estimated 16% of the nation’s high school students were using e-cigarettes in 2015, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey.

electronic cigarette and stethoscope

An initial study of Connecticut middle school and high school users of e-cigarettes in 2013 reported they were first attracted to the practice for many reasons, including curiosity, different available flavors, and use by their friends.

Yale researchers — led by Krysten Bold, postdoctoral fellow, and Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, professor of psychiatry — went back six months later to track who was still using e-cigarettes. Youths who had said they were initially attracted to e-cigarettes because of the low-cost of e-cigarettes or because they wanted to quit smoking combustible cigarettes were more likely to have continued vaping.

In fact, those who reported trying e-cigarettes to quit smoking were 14 times more likely to continue vaping. However, the long-term benefits of using e-cigarettes to quit cigarette smoking among youth are unclear, the study found, since 80% of youth who said they first tried vaping to help quit smoking were still smoking cigarettes six months later.

“Increasing the cost of e-cigarettes might be one policy that could be used to reduce vaping in this age group,” Bold said.

Yale researchers are currently analyzing evidence from the third longitudinal study of the same group completed in 2015.

“E-cigarette use is a major public health issue, and understanding use among youth is critical to inform youth-directed prevention efforts,” said Krishnan-Sarin.

Source: Yale University

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