Teenagers with moderate mental health problems who may not have considered smoking conventional cigarettes are turning to electronic cigarettes, a new USC study has found. Mental health and behavioral problems such as alcohol and drug abuse are well-documented risk factors that push teens to smoke, said Adam Leventhal, lead author and associate professor of preventive medicine and psychology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. The situation, however, is different for teens who vape e-cigarettes. Surveyed teens who picked up vaping had emotional and behavioral problems that fell midway between smokers and teens who neither vaped nor smoked.
“The past 3 years, there have been dramatic increases in recreational use of e-cigarettes among teens” Leventhal said. “Our study raises questions of whether e-cigarettes may be recruiting lower-risk teens with fewer mental health problems who might not have been interested in any nicotine or tobacco products if e-cigarettes did not exist. Electronic cigarettes could be bringing a population of lower-risk teens into nicotine use.”
The study surveyed 3310, ninth-grade students in 10 Los Angeles (area) high schools. They answered questions about conventional/e-cigarettes, anxiety-disorders, depression, bipolar-disorder, substance use/abuse, and traits such as impulsivity, which are linked with poor mental health.
Teenagers who used prescription drugs to get high and those with more symptoms of depression, social phobia, anxiety-disorder, panic-disorder, obsessive-compulsive-disorder, and other emotional issues were more likely to smoke than to vape e-cigarettes. The litany of emotional issues did not greatly affect nonsmokers. On the other hand, adolescents who both vaped and smoked had the poorest mental health, the study found. Read full article
Zen vuong (18 December 2015) Teens with fewer mental health issues turn to e-cigarettes [editorial]. Retrieved from http://ow.ly/WaFaM