E-cigs and Teenagers

iStock_000048350132_MediumAre e-cigarettes the greatest thing since sliced bread or a machination of the devil?  The rancorous debate roils on, with studies abounding, as Rick and I discuss on PodMed this week.  Now comes a study in JAMA that seems to supports the latter assertion, at least for teenagers.  The study followed just over 2500 9th grade students from several California high schools, all of whom reported never having used a combustible tobacco product (note new terminology, cognoscenti) at the time of recruitment. The students were assessed at baseline, at six months, and then at 12 months of follow-up for e-cigarette and combustible cigarette use. In summary, those who reported e-cigarette use were more likely than those who didn't use the devices to begin combustible tobacco product use over the year of follow-up.  The finding suggests that e-cigarettes are a means to addict people to nicotine use and promote a transition to frank smoking.  As Rick opines in the podcast, this is troubling because teenagers are a vulnerable population, with developing brains that are susceptible to nicotine as well as other psychoactive substances.  We agree that regulation of e-cigarettes as well as traditional cigarettes should include prohibition of sales and use in those younger than 21 years of age.

Other topics this week include a genetic basis for different types of fat in our bodies, with implications for obesity in NEJM, the impact of being part of a military family on children, and liraglutide for managing weight in people with type 2 diabetes in JAMA.  Until next week,y'all live well.

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