ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today CNA released a new report examining the potential effects of electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) usage on adolescents. The study, which analyzed survey data from nearly 130,000 middle-school and high-school students, raises serious questions about the widespread belief that e-cigarettes help reduce the number of teenagers who smoke tobacco.
Researchers at CNA compared National Youth Tobacco Survey data from the years before the arrival of e-cigarettes to surveys from more recent years. E-cigarette users were two-and-a-half times more likely to be smoking or chewing tobacco than the researchers' statistical model had predicted.
"The results were so surprising that at first we thought they couldn't possibly be right," says Elizabeth Clelan, Ph.D., research scientist at CNA and lead study author. "However, when we looked further, we found that not only were vapers more likely to smoke than expected, they also smoked a significantly greater number of cigarettes per day than fellow smokers who had never tried e-cigarettes."
The study looked at smoking habits in the years before e-cigarettes were introduced, in order to estimate the probability that a given adolescent would smoke based on his or her grade, sex, ethnic group and whether family members smoked. Then researchers compared these predictions to actual tobacco use by students since e-cigarettes burst onto the scene. The CNA study found that there is a very strong correlation between vaping and tobacco use among all teens. The very low rate of cigarette use among those who have never tried vaping raises the possibility that in the absence of e-cigarettes, smoking by schoolchildren might be falling more dramatically.
"One potential implication is that e-cigarettes could be a gateway drug for the use of tobacco," says co-author and CNA research analyst Justin Ladner, Ph.D.
To download a copy of the report and other supporting materials, visit www.cna.org/news/events/e-cig.
CNA, a non-profit research and analysis organization with more than 600 staff members, is dedicated to developing actionable solutions to complex problems of national importance. In addition to defense-related matters for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, CNA's research portfolio includes policing, homeland security, climate change, water resources, education and air traffic management.
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