With the growing prevalence of e-cigarette use in adults, one cannot help but wonder what the trends are among adolescents and whether a similar increase in their use can be influential in legislating stricter usage regulations for minors.
Willis et al.(doi:10.1542/peds.2014-0760) studied more than 1,900 teens attending high school in Hawaii to determine whether they were using e-cigarettes, conventional cigarettes, and/or both, as well as other risk factors such as alcohol and marijuana associated with such smoking behaviors.
The results may surprise you. The authors note that 17 percent of teens were users of e-cigarettes only, 3 percent cigarettes only, and 12 percent dual users with e-cigarette users showing less risk than conventional or dual smokers but still more than those who don’t smoke at all.
So what kind of teen uses an e-cigarette and not a conventional cigarette and why? What risks are associated with use of e-cigarettes relative to users of conventional cigarettes or dual usage?
This study smokes out the answers to these questions and more and will hopefully have you asking more specifically about e-cigarettes during health maintenance visits with teens in your practice. Perhaps sharing with these patients the associated risk-taking behaviors they should be wary of will help curb their experimenting with these behaviors—and even if not, will make you more aware that they may be occurring in the setting of using these devices.
Are you finding more of your teen patients using e-cigarettes and not conventional cigarettes? Have you asked them why? We hope you will share your thoughts on this new concerning trend by responding to this blog, sending us an e-letter over on our journal website, or perhaps posting your comments on our Facebook or Twitter pages.