It is always good to learn new information comparing e-cigarette to tobacco cigarette smoking in regard to potential risks and trends identified. This month is no exception as we publish two studies and a commentary that we hope you will share with your teen patients who are thinking about trying e-cigarettes or have already started using them.
The first of these studies by Demissie et al. (10.1542/peds.2016-2921) uses the 2015 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey to look at similarities and differences between tobacco cigarette smoking and e-cigarette use when it comes to each being associated with health-risk behaviors in the adolescent population. Teen survey respondents were asked about frequency of usage of smoking products during the past 30 days along with their self-reporting of high-risk health behaviors. The good news is that almost ¾ of the over 15,000 high school teens surveyed had not tried tobacco or e-cigarettes at the time of the survey. More alarming is that while only 3.2 % of respondents smoked cigarettes exclusively, 15.85 used e-cigarettes exclusively and 7.5% used both with greater frequency than either alone. All modes of smoking demonstrated significantly more health-risk behaviors than the non-users, although some differences in these behaviors were noted between the tobacco, e-cigarette and dual smokers as well. We hope you’ll read about by following the link to this study from this blog.
A second study by Drs. Lauren Dutra and Stanton Glantz (10.1542/peds.2016-2450) looked at whether conventional tobacco smoking started to trend downward with the arrival of e-cigarettes onto the market in the United States as of 2007. The authors report on a decade’s worth of data gathered from 6-12th graders who filled out National Youth Tobacco Surveys from 2004 to 2014. The good news is that youth cigarette smoking did decrease linearly over the years studied, but there was no change in the trend after 2009 suggesting that e-cigarettes themselves do not play a big role in this downward trend although less than 25% of the e-cigarette users who responded to this survey said they were also smoking tobacco cigarettes.
To help make sense of how teens are viewing e-cigarettes and what our role can be in helping them better understand their risks such as those demonstrated in the Demissie study, Dr. Thomas Wills from the Cancer Research Center at the University of Hawaii (REF) offers a commentary that is worth your attention. It is articles and commentaries like those we are releasing this week that will hopefully help to vaporize teen intent to even try e-cigarettes or at least help adolescents be better equipped to know the complications that might result in their health-related behaviors as a result of trying these devices.