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About 1 in 10 Kids Tries E-Cigarettes

But fewer than 2 percent of teens become regular users, study finds

WEDNESDAY, April 15, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- While many teenagers try electronic cigarettes, few become regular users, according to a new study.

The research included more than 10,000 children from Wales who were asked about their use of e-cigarettes. About 1,600 children were between the ages of 10 and 11. More than 9,000 were between 11 and 16 years old.

Nearly 6 percent of the younger group had tried e-cigarettes. Just over 12 percent of the older kids had tried e-cigarettes, the study revealed. The percentage of youngsters who had tried an e-cigarette at least once was higher than the percentage who had tried tobacco cigarettes in all age groups, except among those ages 15 to 16, the researchers found.

The proportion of teens who had tried e-cigarettes but never smoked tobacco cigarettes rose from 5 percent in the younger kids to 8 percent among those ages 15 to 16.

However, only 1.5 percent of those ages 11 to 16 said they used e-cigarettes regularly -- at least once a month.

Compared to nonsmokers, the likelihood of regular e-cigarette use was 100 times higher among those who were current weekly cigarette smokers. The study also found use of e-cigarettes was 50 times higher among those who smoked marijuana. These findings suggest that teens don't appear to be using e-cigarettes to help quit smoking, the study authors said.

The findings imply that "e-cigarettes are unlikely to make a major direct contribution to adolescent nicotine addiction at present," Graham Moore, of Cardiff University in Wales, and colleagues wrote.

The study was published online April 15 in BMJ Open.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about electronic cigarettes.

SOURCE: BMJ Open, news release, April 15, 2015
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