WEDNESDAY, March 13, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Candy- and fruit-flavored electronic cigarettes hold far more allure for teens and young adults than older adults, a new study shows.
The sharp rise in e-cigarette use by American youth has prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Surgeon General to declare youth e-cigarette use an epidemic.
On Wednesday, FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb announced that the agency would move ahead with plans to keep e-cigarettes away from young people by curtailing sales of most flavored e-cigarettes in stores and online. Mint, menthol and tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes would not be targeted in this move.
This latest study suggests the agency is headed in the right direction.
"The availability of appealing e-cigarette flavors was a more salient reason for vaping among adolescents and young adults than among older adults," said study leader Samir Soneji. He's an associate professor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in Lebanon, N.H.
"We found that adolescent and young adult vapers were not only more likely than older adult vapers to use fruit- and candy-flavored e-cigarettes, but were more likely to concurrently use multiple flavor types," Soneji said in a Dartmouth news release.
The researchers pointed out that previous studies have shown fruit and other sweet e-cigarette flavors contain chemicals that may be particularly toxic, and lead to respiratory cell inflammation and lung irritation.
"We also found that current cigarette smokers who tried to quit smoking in the past year were more likely than non-cigarette smokers to use tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes," Soneji added.
The study was published March 11 in the journal Public Health Reports.
"Stricter regulation or banning of flavored e-cigarettes, such as fruit and candy, can achieve the dual goal of reducing youth vaping while not burdening older adult cigarette smokers who use e-cigarettes to help quit," Soneji said.
Further research is planned.
"We are looking to determine if adolescents who vape sweet-flavored e-cigarettes are more likely to initiate cigarette smoking than their counterparts who vape tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes," he said.
"On the other hand, we'll determine if adult cigarette smokers who vape tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes are more likely to quit cigarette smoking than their counterparts who vape sweet-flavored e-cigarettes," Soneji added.
The U.S. Surgeon General has more on e-cigarettes and young people.