Researchers have found that teens who vape candy, or fruit-flavoured e-cigarettes are more likely to stick with the habit, implicating flavours in the teen vaping epidemic. The researchers, including those from the University of Southern California (USC) in the US, followed 478 adolescents in Los Angeles-area who vaped, and surveyed them every six months, from 10th grade in the spring of 2015 through 12th grade in 2017.
The results of the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, noted that while many children try e-cigarettes, not all become regular users. "Teens who use e-cigarettes may be more inclined to continue vaping rather than just temporarily experiment with e-cigs," said study co-author Adam Leventhal, director of the USC Institute for Addiction Science.
The researchers found that about nine out of 10 teens in the study vaped fruit, candy, and other non-traditional flavours. Of youth using these non-traditional flavours, nearly 65 per cent were still vaping six months later, as compared to about 43 per cent who used only traditional flavours like tobacco or menthol.
"Whether or not children continue vaping is important -- the longer and more frequently you vape, the more you're exposing yourself to toxins in e-cigarette aerosol and put yourself at risk for nicotine addiction," Leventhal said.
The study noted that the youth in the study using flavoured e-cigarettes that were either fruity, sweet, or buttery also went on to heavier patterns of use six months later.
The researchers said that the number of days or times the teens vaped did not consistently differ based on the flavour they used.
"Regulations that reduce youth exposure to flavoured e-cigarettes may aid in preventing young people who try e-cigarettes from becoming long-term e-cig users, and also from inhaling more of aerosol into their lungs," Leventhal said.