Teens Who Drink More Likely to Use E-Cigarettes

e-cigThe growing popularity of e-cigarettes has created the need for more research on the products. In the last several years, with little regulation holding back the industry, the demand for the vapor devices has surged. Many are calling for restrictions to keep the products out of the hands of minors, as well as more research to determine the dangers associated with e-cigarettes.

A new study has found that teenagers who consume alcohol are more likely to use e-cigarettes, HealthDay reports. The findings come from more than 16,000 students in England ages 14 to 17.

The researchers found that e-cigarette use was more common among teenagers who:

  • Binge Drink
  • Drink to Get Drunk
  • Drink Frequently
  • Drink Strong Alcohol Products
  • Showed Signs of Unsupervised Alcohol Use

Of the study participants:

    • Almost 36 percent were regular smokers.
    • 23 percent had tried smoking but did not enjoy.
    • 20 percent of them had used e-cigarettes.
    • 16 percent had never smoked cigarettes.
    • Almost 14 percent had quit smoking.
    • 12 percent had only smoked while drinking.

“We found that e-cigarette access is strongly related to alcohol use in teenagers,” said study author Karen Hughes, a professor of behavioral epidemiology at Liverpool John Moores.

“Those who drink are more likely to have accessed e-cigarettes than nondrinkers regardless of whether they smoke normal cigarettes or not, and those who drink frequently, binge drink, drink to get drunk, drink strong alcohol products, and show signs of unsupervised alcohol consumption are most likely to have accessed e-cigarettes,” said Hughes in a news release

When compared to non-drinkers, teenagers who binge drink were four times as likely to use e-cigarettes, according to the article.

“Our research suggests that we should be very concerned about teenagers accessing e-cigarettes,” said study co-author Mark Bellis in a news release. “While debate on e-cigarettes has focused largely on whether or not they act as a gateway to tobacco cigarette use, e-cigarettes themselves contain a highly addictive drug that may have more serious and longer lasting impacts on children because their brains are still developing.”

The research was published in BMC Public Health.