Are E-Cigarettes A Gateway Drug? New Study Suggests They May Be

A new study found that teens who tried smoking e-cigs were more likely to smoke traditional cigarettes later on.

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As the number of teens trying e-cigarettes continues to grow, as does the research about this alarming trend. A new study found that teenagers who smoke e-cigs are more likely to try traditional cigarettes or other tobacco products. The research comes from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.

Researchers surveyed a group of 2,500 high school freshman in Los Angeles at the beginning of the school year (when they had never tried any tobacco products), six months later, and then once more before the students started their sophomore year.

According to findings, the teens who had tried e-cigs at the beginning of their freshman year went on to try other tobacco products later on. They were more likely to do so than their peers who had not used e-cigs.

In an interview with NBC News, Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said,

"This study indicates that e-cigarettes are introducing many kids to use of and possible addiction to nicotine. It also adds to concerns that e-cigarettes could serve as a gateway to use of other tobacco products, including regular cigarettes."

While this research doesn't mean that these electronic devices are definitely "gateway drugs," it does suggests that they have harmful potential. Regardless, it's worth keeping an eye on kids' usage. Especially since e-cigarette vapors can cause lung damage and other scary side effects.

As for why more teens are trying e-cigarettes, there could be a number of factors—including peer and familial pressure, as well as ads on TV. Plus, another study showed they simply aren't aware of the risks. Help them sort out the truth with our story, "E-Cigarettes: Can They Kill You Too?"