(HealthDay News) — Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use is associated with initiation of combustible tobacco product smoking among adolescents, according to a study published in the August 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Adam M. Leventhal, PhD, from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted a longitudinal repeated assessment of a school-based cohort to examine whether e-cigarette use among 14-year-olds is associated with risk of initiating use of combustible tobacco products. A total of 2,530 students who reported never using combustible tobacco at baseline completed follow-up assessments at six or 12 months.

The researchers found that baseline e-cigarette users had more frequent past six-month use of any combustible tobacco products at the six-month (30.7 vs. 8.1%) and 12-month (25.2 vs. 9.3%) follow-ups. Across the two follow-up periods, baseline e-cigarette use correlated with increased likelihood of use of any combustible tobacco products in unadjusted analyses (odds ratio, 4.27) and after adjustment for sociodemographic, environmental, and intrapersonal risk factors for smoking (odds ratio, 2.73). Baseline e-cigarette use correlated with combustible cigarette, cigar, and hookah use (odds ratios, 2.65, 4.85, and 3.25, respectively) in product-specific analyses.

“Among high school students in Los Angeles, those who had ever used e-cigarettes at baseline compared with nonusers were more likely to report initiation of combustible tobacco use over the next year,” the authors write.

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