Although vaping is supposed to be a reliable alternative to tobacco smoking, experts underline that e-cigarettes have become quite popular among the young U.S. population. Adam Leventhal, USC Director of the Health, Emotion, and Addiction Laboratory, believes that those, who experience vaping when they are adolescents, risk becoming regular smokers.
Leventhal’s team interviewed over 3,000 adolescents from ten public schools in Los Angeles County to find out whether they were smoking or vaping. After six months, tobacco smoking rates were higher due to the growing popularity of e-cigarettes.
More precisely, twenty percent of those using e-cigarettes were also tobacco smokers, whereas 11 percent of them would smoke a few times every month. Also, nine percent of the teenagers, who confessed that they sometimes used e-cigarettes, were also smoking occasionally, while five percent of them were regular smokers.
Leventhal further says that “what we’re showing is that the more you vape, the faster it accelerates you on that sequence.” This means that teens who decide to experiment vaping, although they have never smoked before, are more likely to use conventional tobacco products as well.
These statistics point to the fact that children and teenagers must be educated about the risks of smoking and vaping. Leventhal believes that if these kids become regular smokers in a few years, the prevalence of smoking-related diseases will be much higher, causing a tremendous impact on the public health care system.
Leventhal’s team will continue the investigation by monitoring the L.A. high-school students and children, especially before graduation. He further underlines that he intends to survey these students in the future as well if his team receives enough funding.
Tobacco smoking is the top preventable cause of death worldwide, and that is why public health officials believe that e-cigarettes contain dangerous chemicals similar to traditional tobacco products.
Although some of them are nicotine-free, manufacturers haven’t disclosed yet what they actually use in producing these substances. Lung cancer is the most common disease caused by smoking because lungs face the greatest exposure to the harmful chemical compounds, out of which at least 60 are known as carcinogens.
Public vaping and tobacco smoking are already banned in many local communities across the country, to prevent children and teenagers from purchasing e-cigarettes and conventional tobacco products.
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