The results of two studies conducted in the United Kingdom and the United States, published in the journal Tobacco Control, showed that young smokers who start smoking in late adolescence may be at risk of continuing and heavy smoking.
Despite national differences in the regulation and marketing of e-cigarettes in the two countries, the study results showed that e-cigarettes “may deepen smoking patterns, known as the ‘entrenchment hypothesis’,” according to the researchers.
They noted that the prevalence of smoking among teens has decreased significantly in recent decades, however, youth who start smoking before the age of 15 are particularly vulnerable to developing nicotine dependence.
In this sense, to explore whether and how concurrent use of e-cigarettes might affect the future smoking patterns of this group, they based on 1,893 adolescent smokers nationwide in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Participants in these studies were surveyed about the frequency of vaporizer use and the frequency of smoking traditional cigarettes until the age of 17, reports Europa Press Agency.
Among teenagers in the UK who were the first to smoke, 57% said they also used vapers, compared to 58% in the US.
By late adolescence, those who smoked at one point “were more likely to continue smoking,” he said.
Among UK participants, 61% of first-time smokers were smoking in late adolescence, compared with 50% of non-smokers.
The equivalent figures for participants from the United States were 42% and 24%, respectively.
Meanwhile, first-time smokers in adolescence were 45% more likely to continue smoking into late adolescence than non-smokers in the US and 119% more likely than non-smokers in the UK.
And by late adolescence, frequent smoking – defined as more than six cigarettes a week or at least 27 cigarettes a month – is more common in UK first-time smokers (37%) than non-smokers (23%). %) was almost twice as common.
Overall, early concurrent smokers were twice as likely as non-smokers in early adolescence in the UK compared to non-smokers in late adolescence.
Among UK participants, 61% of first-time smokers were still smoking as adolescents.
And in the United States, early concurrent smokers were five times more likely to become frequent smokers versus non-smokers than non-smokers in their early teens.
“These results are consistent with the hypothesis that e-cigarettes anchor adolescent smokers to subsequent patterns of sustained, more frequent tobacco use at a younger age,” the researchers explained.
However, the introduction of e-cigarettes “does not mark the transition to smoking cessation among today’s young people in both the UK and the US.”
They noted that “these results contrast with studies of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation among adults, underscoring the need for further study of adolescent early smokers.”
“Comprehensive measures should be taken to reduce adolescent access to e-cigarettes, especially to reduce the likelihood of youth entering smoking at an early age,” they concluded.