Despite years of anti-smoking education and legislation, tobacco use still remains an important public health issue in the United States. In 2010, 25.2% of all adults and 35.6% of young adults reported current tobacco use.
While anti-tobacco efforts continue across the county, the introduction of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) has been marketed as a less harmful alternative to cigarettes and also as a smoking cessation aid.
E-cigarettes supply nicotine through inhaled water vapor. While the addictiveness and long-term effects of using e-cigarettes as a nicotine delivery system are unknown, many people anecdotally believe that they are safer than traditional tobacco products. According to a new study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the belief that e-cigarettes pose less of a health risk may lead to increased experimentation with e-cigarettes among young adults.
Investigators from the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota looked at whether or not there was a relationship between perceived notions about the harmfulness of e-cigarettes relative to cigarettes and subsequent e-cigarette use among young adults. Investigators surveyed 1379 participants from the Minnesota Adolescent Community Cohort who had never used e-cigarettes. The initial baseline survey explored their opinions about e-cigarettes and their effect on health relative to cigarettes or their usefulness as an aid to stop smoking. Then, a follow-up survey conducted one year later asked participants if they had experimented with e-cigarettes.
"Participants who agreed e-cigarettes can help people quit smoking and those who agreed that e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes were more likely than those who did not agree to subsequently report experimenting with e-cigarettes. These associations did not vary by gender or smoking status," says study lead author Kelvin Choi, PhD.
Specifically, the follow-up study found that 7.4% of participants who had never used an e-cigarette at baseline reported subsequently using an e-cigarette, with 21.6% among baseline current smokers, 11.9% among baseline former smokers, and 2.9% among baseline nonsmokers reporting use.
"The study showed that 2.9% of baseline nonsmokers in this U.S. regional sample of young adults reported ever using e-cigarettes at follow-up, suggesting an interest in e-cigarettes among nonsmoking young adults," explains Dr. Choi. "This is problematic because young adults are still developing their tobacco use behaviors, and e-cigarettes may introduce young adults to tobacco use, or promote dual use of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products."
While the risks associated with long-term e-cigarette use are largely unknown, recent studies suggest that they can significantly increase plasma nicotine levels, which means they are potentially as addictive as cigarettes. "This study also suggested that about 12% of former young adults smokers at baseline were re-introduced to nicotine through e-cigarettes. Future prospective studies including adults of all ages are needed to confirm these finding related to e-cigarette use among nonsmokers and former smokers, and to determine the role of e-cigarettes on relapse of smoking," adds Dr. Choi.
This link between beliefs about e-cigarettes and subsequent experimentation can be used to guide future anti-nicotine and anti-smoking campaigns that encompass the new technology of e-cigarettes. "Understanding the specific beliefs that predict subsequent e-cigarette experimentation allows us to focus on these beliefs when designing public health messages," concludes Dr. Choi. "Results from this study suggest that messages about the lack of evidence on e-cigarettes being cessation aids, and the uncertainty of the risks associated with e-cigarette use may discourage young adults, particularly young adult nonsmokers and former smokers, from experimenting with e-cigarettes."
Dr. Choi is currently an investigator at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health. This work was done while he was at the University of Minnesota.
Angela J. Beck | EurekAlert!
Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland
Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
23.03.2017 | Life Sciences
23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences