Electronic cigarettes have been hailed as a useful aid in kicking off the addiction to smoke. However a recent study has revealed that E-Cigarettes are used by both smoking and non-smoking teenagers and it is also associated with drinking and other such risky habits.
Study author Karen Hughes, who is Professor of behavioral epidemiology at Liverpool John Moores University in England says, “We found that e-cigarette access is strongly related to alcohol use in teenagers. Those who drink are more likely to have accessed e-cigarettes than nondrinkers regardless of whether they smoke normal cigarettes or not, and those who drink frequently, binge drink, drink to get drunk, drink strong alcohol products, and show signs of unsupervised alcohol consumption are most likely to have accessed e-cigarettes.”
Researchers from the University conducted surveys of more than 16,000 students aged 14 to 17, in England. The survey revealed that 20 percent of the teens had used e-cigarettes.
Among the teens who had tried e-cigarettes, 16 percent never smoked before, 23 percent had tried but did not find it enjoyable. 36 percent were regular smokers and 12 percent only smoked while taking alcohol. 14 percent were ex-smokers.
Teens who took alcohol are more likely to try an e-cigarette than nondrinkers while binge drinkers are 4 times more likely to use an e-cigarette than those who do not drink.
Those who drank, e-cigarette use were linked with binge drinking and violence after drinking regardless of whether they smoked. The study hints that teens trying out use e-cigarettes are more prone to use other substances and risk taking.
Fellow study author Mark Bellis said, “Our research suggests that we should be very concerned about teenagers accessing e-cigarettes. While debate on e-cigarettes has focused largely on whether or not they act as a gateway to tobacco cigarette use, e-cigarettes themselves contain a highly addictive drug that may have more serious and longer lasting impacts on children because their brains are still developing.”
E-Cigarette continues to divide opinion among healthcare experts. A section of experts feel that it is a safer option to smoking while another section feels that it is a public health menace and there is no real record in terms of its effectiveness in helping smokers to quit smoking.