A new study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows that there is a potential link between e-cigarettes use in teens and later tobacco use. The study found that 30.7 percent of the teens that used e-cigarettes at the time they started their ninth grade year, began using combustible tobacco — like hookahs, cigarettes and cigars — products after six months.

As part of the news release, Adam M. Leventhal, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Health, Emotion, & Addiction Laboratory at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and first author on the study, commented on the findings:

Recreational e-cigarette use is becoming increasingly popular among teens that have never smoked tobacco. Adolescents who enjoy the experience of inhaling nicotine via e-cigarettes could be more apt to experiment with other nicotine products, including smokeable tobacco.

The Findings on Teen E-Cigarette Use

In the video above, Dr. Nora Volkow, the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), discusses the findings of the study.

The NIH funded the research, which surveyed entering high school students from ten public high schools in the Los Angeles. The schools were selected because of the demographic cross-section they provided and for proximity. The data collected focused on 2,530 Los Angeles-based high school students who were initially entering their ninth grade year. The students were then surveyed at the six and twelve-month marks.

2,308 students had neither used e-cigarettes nor tobacco products, and 222 reported using e-cigarettes but not combustible tobacco products. Nearly 31 percent of the students who had used e-cigarettes began using combustible forms of tobacco, but just over eight percent of the non-e-cigarette users did the same.

By the time the students had begun their 10th grade year, just over 25 percent of e-cigarette users started using tobacco and just 9.3 percent of the nonusers had.

In the news release Dr. Volkow summarized the findings by stating:

While teen tobacco use has fallen in recent years, this study confirms that we should continue to vigilantly watch teen smoking patterns. Parents and teens should recognize that although e-cigarettes might not have the same carcinogenic effects of regular cigarettes, they do carry a risk of addiction.

Featured Image: Flickr Creative Commons-Teresa Ling “Smoke Photography”