E-cigarettes, hookah addiction linked to marijuana use later, claims a new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. Teens who smoked e-cigarettes or hookah were up to four times more likely to use marijuana after several years.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Southern California conducted a survey in which they observed 2,668 students at 10 public high schools in Los Angeles. They started their research in 2013 when the students were 14 years old and in ninth grade.
They used a paper-and-pencil, phone or internet survey to asked students whether they had ever used e-cigarettes, combustible cigarettes or a hookah. They also asked whether they had used marijuana.
After a survey in 2015, the teens were asked whether they had used three types of marijuana products: combustible, vaped or edible. At this period, students were 16 years old and in 11th grade.
As a result, the researchers found that students who had used e-cigarettes had more than treble odds of using marijuana than those who hadn’t tried e-cigs.
“Nicotine exposure might lead to changes in the central nervous system that predisposes teens to dependence on other drugs of abuse. Experimenting with e-cigarettes might also increase youth’s curiosity about marijuana, reduce perceived harm of marijuana use, and increase the social access to marijuana from peers and friends,” said Hongying Dai, an associate professor at Children’s Mercy Hospital and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Researchers said more evidence determining an association between e-cigarettes and hookah use and marijuana use would help in demonstrating policies to protect teen health.
Sarah Buscaino is a seasoned journalist with 10 years experience as a reporter and investigative journalist. While studying journalism in Toronto, Sarah got her break as an intern at CITY TV. As a contributor to Island Daily Tribune, Sara covers municipal and provincial politics.