Are young people who start with vaping more likely to take up smoking cigarettes later?

Wednesday, August 4, 2021
By Jacob Alabab-Moser

Extensive research supports the conclusion that e-cigarette use or vaping by young people increases the subsequent likelihood of ever using combustible tobacco cigarettes. Multiple meta-analyses of studies find an association between e-cigarette use and a later transition to cigarette smoking. One analysis estimated an odds ratio of 3.50, indicating a strong magnitude of association.

Possible reasons for e-cigarette-using adolescents being more prone to subsequent cigarette smoking include expectations of pleasurable effects from other tobacco products, attitudes towards risk-taking and easier access to cigarettes.

A World Health Organization social media post states that adolescents who use electronic nicotine delivery systems, such as e-cigarettes, at least double their chance of starting to smoke cigarettes later in life. The WHO did not disclose the data source for the specific figure.

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