E-cigarette use is not leading many people who smoke regular cigarettes to quit, a new study concludes. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) also found e-cigarettes are being heavily marketed to young people.
The researchers are concerned this will create a new market for the nicotine and tobacco industry, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “Our bottom line is, at the moment, it doesn’t seem like e-cigarettes are having a big impact on the population in terms of quitting,” said UCSF’s Dr. Neal Benowitz. He co-authored the study, which appears in the journal Circulation.
A study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last year found use of e-cigarettes among middle and high schools students doubled from 2011 to 2012. The CDC found 10 percent of high school students had tried an e-cigarette last year, compared with 5 percent the previous year. Overall, 1.8 million middle and high school students said they tried e-cigarettes in 2012.
The new UCSF study found people tend to use e-cigarettes with regular cigarettes, rather than an alternative. The researchers also expressed concern about the possible health effects of e-cigarette emissions. They acknowledged the emissions are less toxic than those from burning cigarettes.
“As we’re getting better and better understanding of the chemistry of these things, they’re looking worse and worse,” said study-co-author Stanton Glantz, director of UCSF’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.
Last month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced new rules that would allow the agency to regulate e-cigarettes. The proposed rules would ban the sale of e-cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco to anyone under age 18. The proposed rules do not ban flavors in e-cigarettes and cigars. Public health advocates say these flavors entice children to try the products. The rules also do not ban marketing of e-cigarettes, which public health advocates had called for.