New York: If you are a youth and use vape, you are three times as likely to become a daily smoker in the future, a new study suggests.
The findings showed that those who reported using a tobacco product, daily use increased with age through age 28.
Daily cigarette smoking nearly doubled between 18 to 21 year olds (12 per cent) and 25 to 28 year olds (21 per cent).
"In these data, e-cigarettes are a gateway for those who become daily cigarette smokers," said the study's first author, John P. Pierce, Professor Emeritus at University of California, San Diego.
"The start product has changed from cigarettes to e-cigarettes, but the end product has stayed the same. When users become dependent on nicotine, they are converting to cigarette smoking," Pierce added.
For the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, the team used data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, a longitudinal study of tobacco use and its effect.
The study enrolled a nationally representative sample of 12 to 24 year olds between in 2013 and 2014 and re-interviewed them annually for four years to explore progression to daily use among experimenters of 12 tobacco products.
In the first year, 45 per cent of study participants reported using at least one tobacco product in their lifetime.
By the fourth year, as participants aged, 62 per cent reported some tobacco experimentation, the study reported.
Among those who have ever experimented with tobacco, 73 per cent had tried cigarettes and 72 per cent had tried e-cigarettes.
Further, more than half tried hookahs and cigarillos. Traditional cigars, filtered cigars, smokeless products, pipes and snus were each tried by more than 10 per cent of study participants.
The analyses revealed that, by year four, 12 per cent of participants were using tobacco products daily -- half of whom became daily users after the first year.
Seventy per cent of daily users smoked cigarettes and most of them (63 per cent) used cigarettes exclusively. Of those who smoked cigarettes and used another tobacco product, half vaped e-cigarettes on a non-daily basis.
Less than 1 per cent of study participants who experimented with just one tobacco product progressed to daily cigarette smoking.
People who had tried five or more products increased their risk of becoming daily cigarette smokers by 15 percentage points.