A new study found that flavored tobacco products have a higher chance of luring teenagers and youngsters than non-flavored products. In other words, favored tobacco products can encourage them to take up smoking or vaping.
According to researchers, the first use of either menthol or mint-flavored cigarette placed young adults at high risk of sequent cigarette smoking. As if that weren’t enough, researchers determined that teenagers who first use menthol or mint-flavored cigarettes are more likely to start smoking daily.
Researchers from the University of Vermont attributed tobacco addiction among teens to flavored cigarettes and vapes. Before they know, this first experience transforms into a lifelong addiction. In the last few months, health officials have been warning consumers, especially teenagers to steer clear of any sort of vaping products.
The move follows an outbreak of vaping associated lung illnesses across the United States.
As part of the study, which was published in the JAMA Network Open, researchers analyzed data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study. The data was collected on about 12,000 teenagers and nearly 26,500 adults from 2013 to 2014, the initial study period. A follow up was made from 2014 to 2015.
During the first period, participants were asked if they had ever tried a tobacco-based product including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, traditional cigars, hookah tobacco, pipe tobacco, smokeless tobacco, and dissolvable tobacco. In the follow-up, the researchers asked them if they had started using tobacco products, if yes, then how frequently were they using them.
Researchers discovered that first flavored e-cigarette use led to the more frequent use of the e-cigarette, particularly among young adults and adults aged 25 years or older. Participants who first tried either menthol or mint-flavored cigarette during the initial study period were more likely to say they smoked cigarettes in the last month or year while revealing how often they use these products.
Surprisingly, this sort of association was absent among those who first tried non-flavored tobacco products, the researchers say.
“Flavors in tobacco products were associated with youth and young adult tobacco experimentation. The first use of a flavored tobacco product may place youth, young adults, and adults at risk of subsequent tobacco use,” the authors wrote.
This comes on the heels of a federal investigation into what has been deemed as an outbreak of vaping-related illnesses. Health officials say these illnesses have primarily affected teens, as well as young people the most since they were targeted by makers of flavored e-cigarettes.