E-cigarettes turning nonsmokers to nicotine addiction: Study

Toronto, May 5: Amid claims that e-cigarettes can also pause cancer risks, a study has found that young adults believe electronic cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes – a presumption that is turning even nonsmokers to nicotine addiction.

“Half of current users of e-cigarettes are nonsmokers, suggesting that unlike tobacco harm-reduction products, e-cigarettes contribute to primary nicotine addiction and to renormalisation of smoking behaviours,” said Robert C. McMillen, an associate professor at Mississippi State University in the US.

Young parents who use e-cigarettes believe that the devices are safer for those around them, the findings showed.

The risks of e-cigarette use and exposure to vapour are unknown, yet many parents report using these electronic cigarettes to reduce harm to others, McMillen noted.

Although e-cigarettes are marketed as an option to help smokers kick the habit, young adults also are less likely than older adults to use e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking.

For the study, the researchers surveyed a random sample of 3,253 adults in the US.

The parents reported several reasons for using electronic cigarettes: 81 percent said e-cigarettes might be less harmful than cigarettes to people around them; 76 percent said e-cigarettes are more acceptable to non-tobacco users; and 72 percent said they could use the devices in places where smoking cigarettes is not allowed.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution. The user inhales the vapor created and ingests the nicotine.

Some e-cigarettes are flavoured, and some have been found to contain toxic chemicals.