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Teen vaping has become a ‘route into nicotine addiction, rather than out of it’, expert warns

Experts warn that vaping has been a gateway to nicotine addiction for teens.

This caution comes after a recent study found that many teens who have tried Vaping never smoked.

Researchers from the Tobacco Free Research Institute Ireland claimed that the percentage of teenagers and teens who have tried e-cigarettes has increased from 23% to 39% between 2014 and 2019.

Comparatively, 39% of teens who tried e-cigarettes said that they did.

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68% of those who tried e-cigarettes stated that they’d never tried smoking.

According to thousands of teens, curiosity (66%) and vaping by their friends (29%) were the main reasons teenagers tried e-cigarettes.

Only 3% of respondents said that it was to stop smoking.

Learn more about smoking

Researchers found that children whose parents smoke are 55% more likely than others to try e-cigarettes.

Continue reading: Although 4.3 million Brits use e-cigarettes, 350,000 have never smoked.

This new research was presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress, Barcelona, Spain. It also showed that these young people were 51% more likely than others to have tried smoking.

Professor Luke Clancy, the Institute’s director general, stated that e-cigarettes are becoming more popular among teenagers in Ireland. This pattern is also being observed elsewhere in the world.

“People believe vaping is better than smoking. However, our research shows this is not true for teenagers who have never tried cigarettes before trying e-cigarettes.

“This suggests that vaping is more of a gateway to nicotine addiction than a way out.


‘Worrying’

Dr Joan Hanafin, the lead researcher, said: “We can clearly see that the number teenagers using electronic cigarettes is changing quickly. So we need to continue monitoring the situation in Ireland as well as around the globe.

“We also plan on studying social media to understand how it influences vaping behavior of boys and girls.”

Image: Vaping devices. Pic: AP

Professor Jonathan Grigg (chair of the European Respiratory Society’s Tobacco Control Committee) commented on the study. He said that the findings were worrying not only for teens in Ireland but also for families around the globe.

A separate report by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), released earlier this year, concluded that children are vaping at an increasing rate, many of them being influenced and encouraged by social media sites like TikTok.

Although it is illegal to sell vapes under-18s, vaping among children aged 11-17 has increased from 4% to 7% between 2020 and 2022.

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