A very recent US National study found that the use of e-cigarettes among the teens surpassed use of topical cigarettes. More and more teams are using e-cigarettes compared to traditional tobacco cigarettes.
The University of Michigan conducted a Monitoring the Future study. In the study, they tracked trends in use of substances in the students in 8th, 10th and 12th grades. The National study is in its 40th year. Every year, the National study conducts surveys of 40,000 to 50,000 students in 400 secondary schools in the United States.
The survey asked questions like whether the student in question used and e-cigarette or a traditional cigarette in the last 30 days.
E-cigarettes are the newest smoking type product. It is finding popularity with the American adolescents. These are battery-powered devices that use a heating element. These cigarettes produce an aerosol or vapor that the user inhales. In general, the vapor contains nicotine. It’s a proprietary content is present in the e-cigarettes and it is not regulated. The fact that the liquid vaporized in e-cigarettes are available in different flavors, including bubblegum and milk chocolate cream, may have added to the popularity among younger teens.
It is found that twice as many 8th and 10th graders were using e-cigarettes. 16% of the 10th graders were using e-cigarettes and 7% were using tobacco cigarettes. About 9% of the 8th grade students were using e-cigarettes, while only 4% were using at tobacco cigarette in the last 30 days. In the 12th graders, 17% of the students were using e-cigarettes and 14% used a tobacco cigarette in the last 30 days.
It is also noteworthy that older teens reported marginal difference in between e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes. However, according to the principal investigator of the project, this may be because of the fact that e-cigarettes are relatively new. Therefore, the 12th graders might not have had the opportunity to use them when they were younger. A further study in a future time will be able to decide whether that’s true or not.
The possible risk
E-cigarettes may work as a point of entry for the users into the use of nicotine. About 4% to 7% students in 8th, 10th and 12th grades, who used e-cigarettes, never smoked at tobacco cigarette in their life. E-cigarettes work as a primary source of nicotine but not as a supplement to tobacco cigarette. However, it is not yet certain if the youth using e-cigarettes later become tobacco cigarette smokers or not. This is a crucial and big concern to the public health community.
At present use of tobacco cigarettes is at a historic low when you look at the life of the study. In 2014, tobacco cigarette smokers in the past 30 days, was 8% for 8th, 10th and 12th grade students combined. This is a significant decline from 2013, when it was 10%. In 1998, the percentage of tobacco cigarette smokers was 28% in the same grades. Such a decline in tobacco cigarette smoking among the young students was possible due to decline in the number of young students who have started smoking tobacco cigarettes. In 2014, only 23% of the total students under the study reported trying tobacco cigarettes. In 1998 about 56% of the students surveyed reported trying tobacco cigarettes at some point or other. This is a hard won decline in the number of cigarette smokers among young people. E-cigarettes may reverse the trend by leading e-cigarette smokers to become tobacco cigarette smokers and thereby completely change the trend, which may be a big problem for the society.