E-cigarette use among teens not just a substitute for cigarettes

When e-cigarettes were introduced in 2006, they were hailed as a healthier alternative to cigarette smoking. Potentially, smokers could substitute e-cigarettes for traditional cigarettes as a way to quit smoking.

According to a study published this month in the journal Pediatrics, teens are not using e-cigarettes as a substitute for smoking. In the past ten years, decreases in cigarette smoking have been relatively small – while e-cigarette use has increased substantially. This pattern suggests that e-cigarettes are creating a new group of teen tobacco users, at a higher rate than would use traditional cigarettes.

In a 2015 NPCH Report, we asked parents of teens age 13-18 and teens themselves about their opinions on e-cigarettes. 84% of parents and 81% of teens said allowing teens to use e-cigarettes will encourage them to use other tobacco products. Over half of parents (54%) and teens (62%) said it is easy for people under 18 to buy e-cigarettes. About 40% of teens said they know other teens that have used e-cigarettes.

Parent and teen opinions about e-cigarettes

View full size image | View more health infographics

What do you think?
Do you think e-cigarette use will encourage teens to use traditional cigarettes? Has your state imposed any recent restrictions on the use or sale of e-cigarettes? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @csmottpoll.