Teen smoking is down, but a troubling trend emerges

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Even if e-cigarettes serve as a gateway to smoking for a small portion of youth, Kozlowski and Warner argue that the benefits of vaping likely outweigh the health-related costs because, on balance, e-cigarettes lead more more people to quit smoking.

The study says e-cigarette flavorings are also important to note. Since the emergence of e-cigarettes and other similar electronic nicotine delivery systems, the New York State Department of Health has incorporated e-cigarettes into existing tobacco control initiatives to prevent youth from starting tobacco use, reduce tobacco use in adults and eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.

E-cigarette use almost doubled among high schoolers from 10.5 percent in 2014 to 20.6 percent in 2016, a health department survey shows.

A 2016 U.S. Surgeon General report found the number of high school students using e-cigarettes increase 900 percent between 2011 and 2015, becoming the most commonly used form of nicotine among young people. They turn nicotine, which is highly addictive, and other chemicals into a vapor that is inhaled by the user.

Health experts agree that the devices are much safer than smoking tobacco - and the gadgets are created to help people quit smoking each year. "The public deserves accurate information on the health risks of e-cigarettes versus cigarettes", Kozlowski said.

It warned of the dangers of "passive vaping", which growing evidence has linked to lung damage, heart complications and stillbirth in pregnant women.

"The national trends in vaping and cigarette smoking do not support the argument that vaping is leading to smoking", said Lynn Kozlowski, the paper's lead author and a professor of community health and health behavior in UB's School of Public Health and Health Professions. In reality, just six students from the body of thousands that participated switched from vaping to smoking cigarettes, while 20 students who began the study as smokers transitioned to vaping.

Anti-smoking advocates have stressed the need to impose new regulations on e-cigarettes.

Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker said, "The rapid rise in e-cigarette use among youth and its dual use with cigarettes is a cause for great concern".

The state has sought over the years to curb the growth in e-cigarettes.

Adds Warner: "The persistent focus on the potential risks to kids has caused adults' understanding of the risks of e-cigarettes to worsen over time".

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