New Study Reveals Smoking Concerns For Youth Through E-Cigs

Posted on Aug 22, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

A study recently published by Pediatrics revealed some concerning data on nicotine use among younger people. Especially troubling is how a new trend is attracting adolescents to use electronic cigarettes (‘e-cigs’) among those who would typically be deemed low risk for smoking otherwise.

In a survey coordinated by the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), researchers examined 2004 – 2014 data collected in a survey of over 140,000 students. While they found that cigarette smoking among middle and high school students declined during that period, the use of e-cigs (or ‘vaping’) ran rampant.

Findings showed that cigarette smoking among this age group fell (to 9.3% in 2015 from 15.8% in 2011) while the growth of e-cigarettes from 2007 to 2009 increased from 1.5% students to 16.0% by 2015.

Apparently, the appeal of vaping is attracting students with characteristics unlike those previously deemed most likely to succumb to the habit of smoking. By 2013, nearly half of high school students (46%) admitted to trying tobacco products.

Proponents of electronic cigarettes claim that the new trend is helping to lower the percentage of youth who are smoking cigarettes. Yet, the survey showed results to the contrary. When combining adolescent use of e-cigs and cigarette use in 2014, the percentage was higher than in 2009. This has led researchers to relook at the traits of students who may be attracted to nicotine use who would have avoided it without the lure of vaping.

Rather than lowering the number of U.S. youth who become nicotine users, e-cigs are appealing to a whole new set. This merely muddies and complicates our nation’s war on smoking. According to the CDC (

“Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the US. Some people who smoke every day are smoking fewer cigarettes; however, even occasional smoking causes harm. The percentage of American adults who smoke decreased from 20.9% in 2005 to 19.3% in 2010. That translates to 3 million fewer smokers than there would have been with no decline.”

Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss and effects over 47% of American adults. According to the American Academy of Periodontology (

“Studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease.”

This particular study, “E-cigarettes and National Adolescent Cigarette Use: 2004-2014,” comes on the heels of another showing similar results among California youth. Conducted by the University of Southern California, their results showed that youth are being encouraged rather than discouraged to smoke through the use of e-cigs.

If you have children, discuss with them the hazards of nicotine addiction and how e-cigs actually perpetuate developing the habit. Ask them questions about their own exposure and assumptions on the use of e-cigs as well as any form of tobacco.

Like all parents, we want our children to make wise choices and live healthy, active lives. Help them to avoid the entrapment of tobacco use and nicotine addiction. Let’s add to a future generation who have healthy smiles and healthy lives!


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