According to a scientific research by Cardiff University as published in the medical journal BMJ Open has found that many teenagers, several of whom had never smoked before, are now trying out electronic cigarettes, but they do not become regular users of e-smoking devices. Most of those sticking to the habit of e-cigarette use are those who have already been smokers of traditional cigarettes. The study was based on data of about 10.650 teenagers, aged 11 – 16 year old, across more than 150 schools in Britain and it concluded that more teens had tried out, even once, an electronic cigarette rather than a traditional cigarette.
More specifically, almost 6% of children aged between 10 and 11 years old had tried an electronic cigarette, compared to 1,6% in the same age group who had smoked a normal cigarette. In total, 12,3% of the teenagers surveyed had used an electronic cigarette once or more times, but only 1,5% of them said they do so on a systematic, regular basis.
The British researchers seem to have reached similar conclusions to those already arrived at by their American colleagues, by demonstrating the close relation between the use of e-cigarettes and the habit of smoking traditional cigarettes, as well as by concluding that teenagers do not resort to e-cigarette use in their effort to quit the smoking of regular cigarettes.
Moreover, according to new data announced recently the use of electronic cigarettes amongst high school students in the USA has more than tripled in 2014, while at the same time the smoking of traditional cigarettes has been reduced to record levels. This type of new data is expected to revive once again the public debate and controversy whether e-cigarettes are more beneficial or more detrimental from the public health standpoint.
More specifically, according to the CDC the use of e-cigarettes amongst US teenagers rose to 13,4% in 2014, compared to 4,5% that it was in 2013. On the contrary, only 9,2% of teens had smoked a traditional cigarette in 2014 against the 12,7% that had done so in 2013. In total, cigarettes of any kind, both electronic and traditional, were used by 24,6% of all students with the corresponding figure for 2013 being 22,9%.
The enemies of electronic cigarettes fear that they create a new generation of nicotine addicts who may eventually turn to smoking traditional cigarettes and the CDC head is also quick to highlight that exposure to nicotine at a young age can cause lasting damage in the development of the brain, as well as enhance the addiction and lead to a prolonged tobacco use.
On the other hand, electronic cigarette proponents argue that it is positive that youths are increasingly showing a preference in favour of electronic cigarettes instead of regular, conventional cigarettes.
In total, 4.6 million secondary students in the USA are smokers and a remarkable trend is the increasing popularity of shisha or hookah smoking, which went up to 9,4% in 2014 from the 5,2 that it was in 2013. In view of this, experts stressed that hookah is much more dangerous for one’s health than even the conventional cigarette and it does not in any way constitute a safer and healthier alternative to traditional smoking.
In terms of popularity ranking amongst US students, the electronic cigarette ranks fist, followed by shisha, with the traditional cigarette occupying the third position and traditional cigars ranking fourth.
It is therefore not surprising that many large tobacco manufacturers are now producing electronic cigarettes as well, since they see in them a new and very promising market, in which however they have to compete against several other smaller independent companies.