E-cigarettes highly likely to lead to teen tobacco smoking

A new survey has shown that adolescent vape users are at a greater risk of smoking cigarettes as teenagers. 

In addition, those who follow this pipeline are more susceptible to having poor mental health and misperceptions about the harms of smoking.

These findings are based on the 2017 Australian Secondary School Students Alcohol and Drug Survey (Assad).

The survey contained a sample of 4,226 Victorian students aged 12 to 17. Researchers then focused on 3,410 students who reported never having smoked even part of a cigarette.

As part of the survey, students were asked about their use of substances, mental health, social groups, school absenteeism, and e-cigarette use. More than one in 10 of the students who said they had never smoked were likely to start tobacco smoking.

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Widespread use of vaping

This research predates a significant nationwide increase in e-cigarette use.

Australian National University professor, Emily Banks, says that e-cigarette users are more likely to take up smoking because it gets people used to the hand-mouth motion. In addition, it lays the foundations for a nicotine addiction.

‘People who use e-cigarettes were more likely to go on to smoke,’ she said. ‘It softens them up, it gets them used to the hand-mouth motion, gets them addicted to nicotine, gets them exposed to some of the advertising, makes them think more positively about inhaling something to get that hit.’

According to Bupa dental care – while vaping is a safer alternative to smoking tobacco, both can lead to oral health problems. It can cause tooth discolouration, a build-up of plaque, and even a heightened risk of gum disease, cavities, and tooth loss.

Widespread use of vaping is a fairly recent development, and medical professionals and scientists are still assessing the risks, meaning that further key insights are yet to be discovered. Nevertheless, the data that has already been revealed proves to be alarming for people concerned about their oral health.

The Australian government is currently in negotiations with the states and territories about how to implement tough new laws aimed at protecting children.

The UK currently has no nationwide legal restriction or laws on using e-cigarettes, but the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health is currently urging the government to implement a ban on disposable vapes for children.

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