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Study Finds that E-Cigarettes Can Lead to Addiction

Think that e-cigs are a safe alternative to regular smokes? Think again.

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Are they really that different? Photo via Shutterstock

By Shawn Dwyer

12/10/13

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A new study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco found that using the increasingly popular battery-powered devices is actually associated with the heavier use of conventional cigarettes.

While manufacturers have introduced e-cigarettes as a safe alternative to regular cigarettes that can help wean smokers off their nicotine addiction, health experts have cast doubt on such claims while becoming increasingly alarmed over the potential harms of the product. Researchers in the UCSF study went to South Korea to analyze younger users of electronic cigarettes and found that 4 out of 5 teens who used the product also smoked regular cigarettes. In other words, researchers found that using e-cigarettes might actually promote the use of regular tobacco. Adding fuel to the fire, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that from the time that e-cigs were introduced to the country in 2008, users have risen drastically from a mere one percent to over nine percent in 2012.

One of the lead authors of the study, Stan Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, expressed his growing concern with the increase of e-cigarette use among adolescents. “We are witnessing the beginning of a new phase of the nicotine epidemic and a new route to nicotine addiction for kids,” he said. “The kids who are trying to quit smoking were more likely to be using e-cigarettes. But…[they are] much less likely to actually quit.”

The Food and Drug Administration still has no clear set of rules regarding e-cigarettes, though the department does have the power to require manufactures to label their product and restrict sale to minors under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009. Some states like New York, New Hampshire, and Maryland have already banned sales to minors.

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