CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – You’ve probably seen them outside of high schools, gas stations, and even restaurants.
The advertisements are everywhere and it all shows one thing: vaping is on the rise across the country.
According to a study published by the British Medical Journal, teen vaping has increased in the United States by 46% between 2017 and 2018.
This rose the eyebrows of Dr. Kenneth Cummings,co-leader of the tobacco control research program at the Medical University of South Carolina. He grew concern over the increase in vaping among nonsmokers.
He, with the help of other researchers, began a study to investigate the evolving nicotine product market in different countries.
“Our basic theory is if these vaping products are actually displacing cigarettes, we should see cigarette smoking declining,” says Dr. Cummings.
The study surveyed over 12,000 teenagers, aged 16 to 19, in Canada, the United States and Europe to assess whether they vape or use tobacco products.
Their hoping that their research can help them not only find the effects of vaping, but also discover ways of stopping teenagers from vaping in the first place.
“In the US, vaping is really taking off as an alternative to cigarettes and I work in a cancer center and since a third of all cancer deaths is due to smoking, we’re interested in things that can get people off of cigarettes, so we’ve been looking into the effects of vaping but also want to prevent young people from getting addicted to these products because there’s really no benefit for a non-smoker to be using nicotine in any form.”Dr. Kenneth Cummings, Ph.D., MUSC
Vaping is not only a harm to teenagers but also to nonsmokers, of any age.
He explained this as “the red flag” that the study was raising.
The timing of the study is perfect because San Francisco just became the first major city to ban e-cigarettes.
Although, e-cigarettes are not beneficial to teenagers or nonsmokers, it can provide many benefits to adult smokers.
Dr. Matthew Carpenter, a Hollings Cancer Center researcher, is about to begin a study that will measure the changes in smoking behaviors as a result of e-cigarette smoking.
“We did an earlier trial with probably an earlier product, probably a less effective or less efficient e-cigarette device and that study showed across various outcomes that it did not only decrease cigarette smoking among smokers but it increased the rate of quit attempts and it increased the rate of abstinence.”Dr. Matthew Carpenter, Ph.D., MUSC
They believe that a ban is not needed, but there are changes that could be made.
For example, changing the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 and not selling e-cigarettes in places like gas stations and convenience stores and instead in places that only adults are allowed to purchase from such as: vape shops.
Despite not thinking a ban is needed, they do believe that stopping kids from starting to smoke in the first place can save lives.
“If we could do one thing to reduce the death and disease in South Carolina related to any single cause, it would be to get rid of cigarettes. Vaping may be a way to facilitate a more rapid decline in cigarette consumption, but we can’t allow another generation of young people to get addicted to nicotine, which has the potential to bring back smoking.”Dr. Kenneth Cummings, Ph.D., MUSC
If you’re a smoker and are interested in being apart of the study, text Dr. Carpenter at 843-779-9693.