Published in JAMA Pediatrics, the study found that
among those who have smoked, adolescents who also used e-cigarettes
were less likely to have given up smoking than those who did not use
The authors of the study, Lauren Dutra and Stanton Glantz, a
prominent opponent of e-cigarettes, concluded that the "use of
e-cigarettes does not discourage, and may encourage, conventional
cigarette use among U.S. adolescents."
Critics say the results do not support such a conclusion.
Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor of community health sciences at
Boston University School of Public Health who has spoken publicly in
favor of e-cigarettes, said that while the study draws a correlation
between smoking and e-cigarette use, there was no evidence to prove
e-cigarettes led to smoking.
"The authors seem to have an axe to grind," he said. "I could
equally argue that what this study shows is that people who are
heavy smokers are attracted to e-cigarettes because they are looking
The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute and conducted
by the University of California San Francisco's Center for Tobacco
Control Research and Education.
It comes as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration prepares to gain
regulatory control over e-cigarettes, which generated sales of
nearly $2 billion last year, and which some analysts believe could
eventually exceed the $80-billion tobacco market.
The aim of the study was to further understand the relationship
between e-cigarette use, conventional cigarette use and quitting
among U.S. adolescents.
It relied on data from some 40,000 adolescents who completed the
2011 and 2012 National Youth Tobacco Surveys carried out by the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The authors said that since the study did not follow its subjects
over time, they couldn't determine whether most youths began smoking
conventional cigarettes before moving to e-cigarettes, or vice
[to top of second column]
Adult smoking rates have fallen to 18 percent from 43 percent in
1965. Even so, more than 3,200 young people a day under the age of
18 try their first cigarette, a recent government report found, and
the use of e-cigarettes by young people doubled between 2011 and
E-cigarettes are battery-powered cartridges that look like
cigarettes and contain a nicotine liquid that, when heated, creates
an inhalable vapor. This vapor, advocates say, is less dangerous
than traditional cigarette smoke since it does not contain
Nicotine itself is considered relatively benign compared with
cigarettes, but data on the long-term safety of e-cigarettes, which
contain a variety of chemicals, is limited.
That uncertainty has led a number of cities, including New York,
Chicago, Boston and, most recently, Los Angeles, to restrict the use
of e-cigarettes in restaurants, bars, nightclubs and other public
(Reporting by Toni Clarke in Washington;
Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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