October 12, 2015 —

Every month, we’re keeping you informed on the latest studies and research in our “Not My Teen” blog series. Today, we’re looking at how teens’ use of e-cigarettes impacts their use of traditional cigarettes.

E-cigarettes, sometimes referred to as vaporizers, have become a topic of debate and concern among health professionals and parents in recent years. The health risks, accessibility and use of these electronic devices by teens are specific areas of apprehension. There are more flavors and choices than ever, making vaping attractive to teens. However, if teens do decide to start vaping, what are the potential implications? Are teens who vape more likely to move on to traditional cigarettes?

According to new research, there may be a correlation between young adults’ use of e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes. A small study conducted by the National Cancer Institute followed a group of 16 to 26-year-olds, who claimed they had no interest in smoking traditional cigarettes, over the course of a year. The researchers tracked the young adults’ disposition towards e-cigarettes, traditional cigarettes and use of both vaporizers and conventional cigarettes at the beginning and end of the trial.

Throughout the duration of the study, there was a shift in use of and attitudes towards e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes. At the beginning of the research, 16 young adults were using e-cigarettes and by the end, six had begun smoking traditional cigarettes. Further, an additional five of these initial e-cigarette users were no longer certain that they would not smoke traditional cigarettes. However, while it’s important to note these shifts in behaviors and attitudes, it is also important to note that the small sample size of the study may be limiting and not necessarily telling of the larger population.

Regardless, as parents, it’s important to take note of our teens’ activities and how teens can be influenced. It’s crucial to remind teens that while e-cigarettes may seem fun and harmless, they are not. As with other high-risk behaviors, parents should talk to their teens about the risks associated with vaping and tobacco use. Engage in regular conversations about these issues to make your expectations of your teen clear and demonstrate that you care about their wellbeing. By fostering an open, trusting atmosphere in your home, you can prevent your teen from engaging in risky activities, while simultaneously promoting positive choices and healthy pastimes.

You can read more the full report here. What advice would you give to other parents about preventing their teen from engaging in e-cigarette use and other risky activities? Please share with us in the comments below!