Washington D.C: A recent study has revealed that the use of e-cigarettes and alternative tobacco products may lead to increased tobacco use.
The increasing use of alternative tobacco products, such as water pipes and e-cigarettes, by children under the age of 18 is a burgeoning public health crisis, researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center write in a commentary in the current issue of the).
Alternative tobacco products represent a new challenge in the 75-year-old war against tobacco, says commentary co-author Michael Weitzman, adding that with the increasing numbers of young adults using alternative tobacco products, people have every reason to be concerned.
There is a misperception that alternative tobacco products are safer than cigarettes, but the evidence says otherwise. Other researchers have demonstrated that a typical 45 minute hookah session is equivalent to smoking as many as five packs of cigarettes, Weitzman says.
The increasing popularity of alternative tobacco products threatens to undermine the gains seen in the last several years with the decline in cigarette use. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposes extending its tobacco authority to additional tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and hookahs, not already under the FDA’s authority.
Weitzman argues that the same tactics used to decrease cigarette smoking in the United States–taxation, education, and restrictions on advertising and sales to minors–need to be applied to alternative tobacco products. And, he says, more research needs to be done to determine what is being burned and inhaled with these products.
The study appears in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).