(RxWiki News) Teens who wouldn't have started smoking in the first place may now be using electronic cigarettes, a new study found.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a nicotine solution to produce a vapor the user inhales. Nicotine is the primary addictive component in tobacco.
The University of Southern California researchers behind this study looked at nearly 300 students in the 11th and 12th grades and followed them until the age they could legally purchase cigarettes.
They evaluated those students who initiated traditional cigarette smoking after 16 months. They compared those who were never-smoking e-cigarette users and never-smoking, never e-cigarette users.
These researchers found that 40.4 percent of e-cigarette users initiated smoking cigarettes after 16 months compared to only 10.5 percent of never users.
These findings suggest that high schoolers might not simply be replacing traditional smoking with vaping, but that they might be vaping when they would never have begun using nicotine at all without the advent of e-cigs, these researchers said.
This study was published in the journal Pediatrics.
The National Institutes of Health and US Food and Drug Administration funded this research. Information about potential conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.