About 10% of California Teens Have Used E-Cigarettes, Study Finds

By Hannah Guzik

About 10 percent of California teenagers have used electronic cigarettes, a rate that is higher than national estimates, according to a new study.

Scientists analyzed data from the 2014 California Health Interview Survey, which interviewed 1,052 adolescents ages 12 to 17.*

The study cites previous research that found that in 2012, 6.5 percent of teens had tried e-cigarettes nationwide.

“The health effects of e-cigarettes are of growing concern,” the study states.

E-cigarettes are made of aerosolized nicotine, and their vapor “contains many of the harmful toxins found in conventional cigarettes, including formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, cadmium, lead and others,” the researchers write.

Researchers found that teens who had tried conventional cigarettes were more likely to have also tried e-cigarettes.

According to the article, “While the long-term health impacts of e-cigarette use are not understood, they pose a great danger because they are closely linked to conventional cigarette use.”

Adolescents from middle or upper class families were also more likely to have tried e-cigarettes. The same was true for teens who were U.S. citizens and spoke only English at home.

“Use of e-cigarettes in this study was higher than previously reported national estimates,” the researchers say. “Differences in lifetime e-cigarette use by citizenship status and language spoken at home suggest that less acculturated individuals use e-cigarettes at lower rates.”

The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Addictive Behaviors in June.

*This story originally stated that the authors of this study were affiliated with the Center for Health Policy Research at UCLA. The authors are not affiliated with the center, but rather with the University of Virginia, UCLA and Drexel University. The story has been updated to correct the error.

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