E-cigarette use linked to higher smoking odds

WASHINGTON, March 6, 2014 (AFP) – E-cigarette use among US youths doubled in just one year, and those who tried the unregulated devices were more likely to smoke conventional cigarettes as well, a study said Thursday. Commonly sold at convenience stores and gas stations, e-cigarettes are battery powered gadgets that deliver nicotine through a vapor that may be fruit or candy-flavored.

Just over three percent of US adolescents had ever tried an e-cigarette in 2011, and that more than doubled to 6.5 percent in 2012, said the research in JAMA Pediatrics, a journal of the American Medical Association.

Similarly, 1.1 percent of middle and high school students said they currently used e-cigarettes in 2011, a figure that rose to two percent in 2012.

Youths who had tried e-cigarettes were more likely to experiment with conventional cigarettes, and were more likely to be current cigarette smokers than kids who had not tried them, said the study.

The research was based on middle and high school students who filled out the National Youth Tobacco Survey, including more than 17,500 in 2011 and some 22,500 in 2012. The nature of the study did not allow researchers to determine whether kids were trying e-cigarette