August 01, 2019

Nicotine matters in predicting subsequent smoking after e-cigarette experimentation: A longitudinal study among Finnish adolescents

  • Kinnunen J.
  • Lindfors P.
  • Minkkinen J.
  • Ollila H.
  • Rimpelä A.
  • Timberlake D.

© 2019 The Authors Background: Several studies indicate an association between e-cigarette use and subsequent smoking among youth. However, most previous studies lack measures of the nicotine content of e-liquid and have not usually measured regular smoking. Methods: We tested the association between e-cigarette use, with and without nicotine, and subsequent daily use of conventional cigarettes and nicotine e-cigarettes among study population of 3474 students. A survey was conducted in lower secondary schools of the Helsinki metropolitan area, Finland, with 15 ? 16-year-olds in 2014 (baseline) and in upper secondary schools in 2016 when the cohort was 17 ? 18-year-olds (follow-up). Firth logistic regression and generalized linear mixed models (GLMM) were used. Results: Of students, 25% had experimented with nicotine e-cigarettes at baseline and 40% at follow-up. Among baseline never-smokers, experimentation with or use of nicotine e-cigarettes predicted the uptake of daily smoking at follow-up (AOR 2.92; 95% CI 1.09?7.85), but baseline experimentation with non-nicotine e-cigarettes did not when compared with the non-e-cigarette experimenters. Nicotine e-cigarette experimentation at baseline predicted daily nicotine e-cigarette use at follow-up (AOR 2.96; 95% CI 1.22?7.22). Non-nicotine e-cigarette experimentation at baseline did not predict statistically significantly daily nicotine e-cigarette use at follow-up (AOR 3.13; 95% CI 0.98?10.02). The small number of cases may have diminished the statistical significance. Conclusions: The findings suggest that experimentation with nicotine e-cigarettes serves as a gateway to subsequent use of conventional cigarettes as well as nicotine e-cigarettes. Our results support the actions to limit youths? access to e-cigarettes in order to prevent nicotine addiction.

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