(Mirror Daily, United States) – E-cigarettes have been touted as a healthier alternative to tobacco cigarettes for years, but a recent study suggests that the electronic devices may pave the way to cigarette smoking later in life.
A research team at the University of Pittsburgh found that the more people experiment with e-cigs the more likely they are to take up smoking later on.
The findings appeared last week in the American Journal of Medicine.
During the study, researchers monitored a group of non-smokers for around two years. The analysis revealed that 47.7% of participants who had vaped tried out smoking too. By contrast, only 10 percent of non-smokers who never tried e-cigarettes started smoking.
Lead author Brian Primack noted that the findings are in line with past studies that revealed that e-cigarette use is tied to a higher risk of taking up smoking.
Critics of the study dismissed the findings as a “witch hunt” and an attempt to “demonize vaping”. Bill Godshall who leads Smokefree Pennsylvania noted that the new research couldn’t find a cause-and-effect relationship between e-cigarette use and smoking.
The fact that e-cigs use preceded smoking doesn’t prove such relationship, Godshall underlined. He also pinpointed that smoking rates in the U.S. have been on a declining trend since 2010 when e-cigarettes were first introduced.
Dr. Primack, on the other hand, explained that his research team tried to establish causation by adjusting the findings for other risk factors for smoking like peer pressure or rebelliousness. While these factors had a say in the risk of taking up smoking, e-cigarette use was the top culprit.
The latest study involved 915 volunteers. Of these, just 16 were e-cigarette users. Of the e-cig users, six or 47.7 percent took up smoking over a period of two years. Of non-users, 80 participants (or 10.2 percent) started smoking during the same time period.
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