Vaping may lead teens to smoke

Story by CBC Kids News • 2019-02-04 15:32

Findings are ‘alarming,’ researcher says

A new study says there's a connection between vaping and smoking.

Researchers looked at three years’ worth of annual questionnaires filled out by more than 6,000 U.S. kids, aged 12 to 15.

The questionnaires were collected between 2013 and 2016 — before popular vape brands like Juul and Vype had even hit the market.

Even back then, the numbers were “pretty alarming,” said Andrew Stokes, lead author of the study and an assistant professor at the Boston University School of Public Health.

The study was published Feb. 1 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Colourful package shows cartoon man blowing out smoke rings.

In May 2018, Canada passed a law that makes it illegal to advertise vaping products in a way that appeals to kids. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

What did the researchers find?

The questionnaires showed that non-smoking teens who tried vaping were more than four times as likely to be smoking cigarettes within a couple years compared to teens who had never vaped.

The numbers were even higher for kids who swore they would never smoke cigarettes in the first questionnaire.

They were almost nine times more likely to become smokers after vaping than those who had never vaped.

Vaping could potentially draw “a whole generation into using tobacco,” Stokes said.

Two vaping devices sit in the palm of somebody's hand.

These students show off their vaping equipment outside West Carleton Secondary School in Ottawa. (Hallie Cotnam/CBC)

What is vaping?

Vaping is a word many people use to describe inhaling and exhaling aerosol from a vape pen or electronic cigarette.

Some e-cigarettes look like USB flash drives or pens. Others look like cigarettes or pipes.

The devices work by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavourings and other chemicals.

Vaping nicotine is highly addictive — a fact that many teens don’t realize, according to a 2018 study.

It’s illegal for Canadians under the age of 18 to buy vaping products.

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