A study published in the Tobacco Control BMJ Journal, has shown that use of e-cigarettes can be directly associated with initiation of smoking cigarette. The study is based on a survey done amongst adolescents in the United Kingdom (UK). Various cross-sectional surveys found that there is increase in number of adolescents that had been reported using both electronic cigarettes and cigarettes.
The study revealed that 19.9 per cent of adolescents, who smoke, try e-cigarettes first and then initiate towards the use of cigarettes. The study is titled as ‘Do electronic cigarettes increase cigarette smoking in UK adolescents? Evidence from a 12-month prospective study.’
The study observed that the initiation for smoking the cigarette after the use of e-cigarette was particularly strong among those adolescents who had no friends who smoked. This is has been termed as the first ever study in UK, which has shown the relationship between the use of e-cigarettes and cigarettes. A few months ago, a study done in the United States has also shown that e-cigarette smokers subsequently initiate cigarette smoking.
E-cigarettes are widely used for the consumption of nicotine and are considered less harmful than tobacco. Whereas, the hazardous effects of nicotine on health has been identified.
“People assume that e-cigarettes are safe and that’s why they start using e-cigarettes. After a while, they feel need to move on to something stronger and that’s how the use of cigarettes begin. E-cigarettes are the gateway of smoking,” said Lancelot Pinto, consultant Respirologist at PD Hinduja Hospital and smoking cessation expert.
He also made it clear that such type of study is not possible in India as taking follow-up will be difficult.
Dr Prakash Gupta, Director of Healis-Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health said that e-cigarette is not a healthy alternative of smoking. “This study reconfirms, rather in a robust manner, that e-cigarette is a getaway to regular cigarette smoking. Also, this is creating the problem of dual use — smoking of e-cigarette as well as a regular cigarette,” he said.
In India, the demand for banning the e-cigarettes has been raised. Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, an Anti-Tobacco Activist and Professor and Surgeon, Tata Memorial Hospital said, “E-cigarettes should be banned not only in India, but also worldwide as it is harmful and does not help smokers quit.”