Kids who live with e-cigarette users may think smoking is okay
By Shereen Lehman
Kids who don’t smoke but are around adults who use electronic cigarettes may start to think regular smoking is okay, a recent study suggests.
Tobacco smoking among U.S. youth has fallen since 1998, but some experts worry that acceptance of e-cigarettes may promote acceptance of traditional cigarettes and reverse the trend, the study team writes in Journal of Adolescent Health.
“The public health community has worked very hard to educate the population about the harm of smoking, and we have observed a shift in acceptability of cigarette smoking, which, in part, led to the decline in the prevalence of smoking,” lead study author Kelvin Choi told Reuters Health.
“E-cigarettes may reverse what has been accomplished, but there was a lack of data to support or refute this issue. That’s why we conducted the study to get an answer that can inform the discussion,” said Choi, a researcher at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities in Bethesda Maryland
“Our findings show that e-cigarette use by youth who never smoked cigarettes is associated with seeing adult smoking as acceptable, which in turn is associated with openness to try cigarette smoking,” Choi said.
The study findings help explain how e-cigarette use may lead to cigarette smoking later, he added.
To test the idea, Choi and colleagues analyzed data from the 2014 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey, which was answered by almost 70,000 middle school and high school students in 765 Florida schools.