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E-CIGARETTES, also known as vapes, may entice teenagers who would not have otherwise touched tobacco to smoke.

At least that’s what a study conducted by researchers from the University of California San Francisco found.

According to the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, the arrival of e-cigarettes on the market has not contributed to a reduction in teenage smoking.

The study, which surveyed 140,000 high school students between 2004 and 2014, confirms previous studies that found that e-cigarettes amount to a “gateway” to smoking addiction.

“While some of the kids using e-cigarettes were also smoking cigarettes, we found that kids who were at low risk of starting nicotine with cigarettes were using e-cigarettes,” said Dr Lauren Dutra.

However, findings of the growing number of studies on e-cigarettes are often contradictory.

Recent research by University College London, for example, suggests that vaping can help smokers kick tobacco and is worth trying as a solution to the problem of smoking addiction.

With regard to teenagers’ perceptions, a 2016 study conducted by Paris Sans Tabac (PST) found that e-cigarettes competed with tobacco instead of constituting a springboard to regular smoking, which the French capital’s high school students increasingly viewed as unfashionable.

For their part, the US researchers have found that e-cigarettes encourage the use of other products containing nicotine and that the arrival of e-cigarettes on the American market in 2007 has not contributed to an overall decrease in youth smoking, which has been fueled by anti-smoking policies.

Do teenagers who smoke have a particular profile?

The study found that such psychosocial criteria as living with a smoker or wearing cigarette branded clothing were more common among young cigarette smokers than among “vapers”.

In August 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), restricted the purchase of e-cigarettes to adults aged 18 and over.

Starting in August 2018, the FDA will introduce obligatory warnings on e-cigarettes to inform consumers that vaping can lead to nicotine addiction.

At the same time, studies have yet to report on the development of products vaporised in e-cigarettes.

On this topic, researchers have highlighted a need for greater regulation of advertising for e-cigarette liquids, which are sold in flavours that are attractive to teenagers. — AFP

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