‘Cool, fun factor’ fueling e-cigarettes’ popularity in teens

Washington D.C, Jul 18 : A new study has suggested that cool factor is motivating e-cigarette use among teenagers. "While e-cigarettes are frequently used as devices for smoking cessation in adults, we found most students in our survey (including 47.8% of those who recently smoked cigarettes) were motivated by the "cool/fun/something new" features of e-cigarettes," wrote Dr Michael Khoury and coauthors. The research, which was conducted while Khoury was a pediatric cardiology resident at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and the University of Toronto, involved 2367 students aged 14-15 years enrolled in grade 9 in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada. Previous studies have found increasing rates of e-cigarette use by adolescents in the United States and Canada and some have found higher rates of e-cigarette use in adolescents exposed to tobacco. In Canada, e-cigarette use is now more common than cigarette use by teenagers. Of the 2367 teens who responded to at least 1 question in the smoking section of the survey, nearly 70 percent had heard about e-cigarettes; almost a quarter of them had learned about them from a display or a sign in a store. Over 10 percent had used e-cigarettes. E-cigarette use was more common among male respondents who were already using cigarettes and other tobacco products and in those whose family or friends smoked. Smoking cessation did not appear to be a driver of e-cigarette use. "Use of e-cigarettes was [also] associated with lower self-identified health level, greater stress level and a lower estimated household income, which suggests that e-cigarette use may have some key associations that may help to identify adolescents at risk," wrote the authors. They acknowledge that, owing to the study's cross-sectional design, the findings represent association and cannot prove causation and that since the study was limited to one region in Canada, the findings are not necessarily generalisable. The authors call for the continued development of strict regulations to reduce the use of e-cigarettes among adolescents. The study is published in Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).