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US study adds to debate over whether e-cigarettes lead to smoking in young people

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i3321 (Published 14 June 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i3321
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. Seattle

Older teenagers who reported using e-cigarettes were more than six times more likely to take up smoking as young adults than those who reported never using the devices, a US study has found.1

The study’s findings add to the ongoing debate over the “gateway hypothesis” that says that e-cigarette use by the young increases the likelihood that they will take up smoking as adults.

For the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers sought to determine whether e-cigarette use in late adolescence was associated with smoking initiation in young adulthood, when it becomes legal to purchase cigarettes in most US jurisdictions.

The data came from the California Health Study, a prospective cohort study of adolescents who were first surveyed in grades 11 or 12 (mean age 17.4) and then again in a follow up survey around 15 months later. All …

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