Youth getting a taste for smoking

A new study found that flavored electronic cigarette use is associated with increased risks of smoking among youth – a concern public health officials have held for years.

The study, to be published in the December issue of Pediatrics, looked at whether flavored e-cigarettes were associated with the intention to initiate cigarette use among never-smoking youth, the intention to quit tobacco use and the perception of tobacco’s danger.

Compared with not using e-cigs, using e-cigarettes was associated with higher odds of intention to initiate cigarette use among never-smoking youth, lower odds of intention to quick tobacco among current-smoking youth and a lower prevalence of perception of tobacco’s danger among all respondents, according to the research.

More than 2000 respondents reported using e-cigarettes in the previous 30 days, and about 61 percent of those reported using flavored e-cigs.

Among never-smoking youth, about 56 percent reported using flavored e-cigarettes. And among current smokers, about 68 percent reported using flavored e-cigarettes, the study found.

The number of youth using e-cigarettes has increased from about 780,000 in 2013 to more than 3 million in 2015. One recent study found that 81 percent of youth e-cigarette users cited the availability of appealing flavors as the reason they started vaping.

More than 460 brands and 7,700 flavors of e-cigarettes are on the market, according to the Pediatrics article. And while the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act banned cigarettes with flavors like candy and fruit, it didn’t extend to e-cigarettes.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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