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‘E-cigarettes’ perceived benefits may lead to higher experimentation rates

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Washington – Researchers have suggested that the belief that e-cigarettes pose less health risk could lead to increased experimentation among young adults.

Investigators from the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota surveyed 1379 participants from the Minnesota Adolescent Community Cohort who had never used e-cigarettes.

The initial baseline survey explored their opinions about e-cigarettes and their effect on health relative to cigarettes or their usefulness as an aid to stop smoking. Then, a follow-up survey conducted one year later asked participants if they had experimented with e-cigarettes.

Study lead author Kelvin Choi, PhD, said that participants who agreed e-cigarettes can help people quit smoking and those who agreed that e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes were more likely than those who did not agree to subsequently report experimenting with e-cigarettes.

Specifically, the follow-up study found that 7.4 per cent of participants who had never used an e-cigarette at baseline reported subsequently using an e-cigarette, with 21.6 per cent among baseline current smokers, 11.9 per cent among baseline former smokers, and 2.9 per cent among baseline nonsmokers reporting use.

Choi said that the study showed that 2.9 per cent of baseline nonsmokers in this U.S. regional sample of young adults reported ever using e-cigarettes at follow-up, suggesting an interest in e-cigarettes among nonsmoking young adults.

A new study has been published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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