Teenagers who use e-cigarettes are twice as likely to say they intend to smoke tobacco cigarettes within the next year, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study, published in the Nicotine and Tobacco Research Journal, compared non-smoking teens who had tried e-cigarettes with those who hadn't. It found that nearly 44 percent of those who had vaped said they intended to try smoking tobacco cigarettes within the next year, compared with nearly 22 percent of those who had not tried e-cigarettes.
The population tracked by the CDC included 6th graders up to 12th graders.
The study also found that the number of teens trying e-cigarettes is growing. More than 263,000 young people who had never smoked used an electronic cigarette last year, which is more than three times the 2011 number, the CDC said.
"We are very concerned about nicotine use among our youth, regardless of whether it comes from conventional cigarettes, e-cigarettes or other tobacco products," said Tim McAfee, Director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. "Not only is nicotine highly addictive, it can harm adolescent brain development."
About three out of four teen smokers become adult smokers, said the CDC.
Researchers found a correlation between tobacco ads and the intention to smoke. Among the teens who were not exposed to ads, 13 percent said they intended to smoke tobacco cigarettes. Twenty percent of those exposed to one or two ad sources, such as the internet or magazines, said they intended to smoke, while nearly 26 percent of those exposed to three or four ad sources planned to smoke.
The data for the study were from the 2011, 2012 and 2013 National Youth Tobacco Surveys of middle and high school students.
In April, Los Angeles joined a number of other cities in deciding to prohibit vaping everywhere that it bans the smoking of tobacco cigarettes.