A study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors says that kids who vape or smoke e-cigarettes are at a high risk of taking up smoking or smokeless tobacco.Also Read - Conduct Inspections on Availability of E-cigarettes in Educational Institutions, Health Ministry to States

The research claims that teenage boys who vaped were almost three times as likely to start smoking as other teen boys with similar risk profiles and more than two times as likely to try smokeless tobacco. Also Read - Beware! Flavoured E-cigarettes Can Worsen Severity of Asthma

“For an ideal study, from a purely scientific perspective, we’d give everybody an e-cigarette, follow them for a few years and see if they start smoking, then rewind the clock and don’t give them an e-cigarette,” said study author Brittney Keller-Hamilton from Ohio State University in the US. Also Read - Cabinet Approves Ordinance to Ban E-Cigarettes, E-Hookahs

“Or we’d randomly assign kids to vape or not to vape. We can’t do either of those things, obviously,” Keller-Hamilton added.

So they looked to an advanced statistical approach — “causal inference” — in which they compared users and non-users of e-cigarettes who started the study with similar known risk factors for vaping based on a variety of factors, including alcohol use, marijuana use, impulsivity, and their parents’ education levels and tobacco history.

The research team identified two groups of young people who were equally likely to start vaping based on a number of factors and then compared the outcomes over the course of the study.

They found that e-cigarette users were 2.7 times as likely to try smoking.

This research followed more than 1,200 boys from urban Franklin County and nine rural Appalachian counties in Ohio for two years. They were 11 to 16 years old when they entered the study.

The new findings support continued efforts to restrict access to tobacco products to those 21 and older and actions to discourage vaping among kids, including measures that make e-cigarettes harder to obtain and less appealing.

“I hope that our findings provide policymakers and other stronger evidence of the connection between e-cigarette use and tobacco use,” the study authors wrote.

(With inputs from IANS)