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Use of high nicotine e-cigarettes among teens linked to more smoking, vaping over time

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A recent study involving nearly 200 high school students in California demonstrated an association between the use of e-cigarettes with higher nicotine levels and a greater likelihood of more intense use of conventional combustible cigarettes and e-cigarettes.

The study’s findings appeared in a new article published by JAMA Pediatrics.

• E-cigarettes are widely available in varying concentrations of nicotine, the main component of conventional combustible cigarettes that maintains smoking dependence.

• Researchers involved in this study surveyed 181 Los Angeles area high school sophomores and examined associations between the baseline e-cigarette nicotine concentration levels the students reported vaping in the 10th grade and the subsequent frequency and intensity of combustible cigarette smoking and e-cigarette vaping after six months.

• The study concluded that vaping e-cigarettes at higher nicotine concentrations at baseline was associated with a greater likelihood of using e-cigarettes and smoking combustible cigarettes in the past 30 days at the six-month follow-up and a greater likelihood of more intense use.

Amy Seery, MD, a pediatrician with Ascension Medical Group Family Medicine, says the medical community was hopeful that e-cigarettes would be a way to help patients gradually quit smoking. As more and more research is coming out, it’s becoming clear the new technology is causing real and lasting harm, Seery says.

“E-cigarettes and vaping have been aggressively targeting teens and young adults and we are now seeing the next generation forming nicotine and tobacco addictions at a young age,” Seery says. “It's important to remember that nicotine and tobacco are harmful substances that cause damage to multiple organ systems in our bodies both in the short term and long term.”

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