Researchers studied 1601 children aged 10-11 and 9055 children aged 11-16 about their use of e-cigarettes. Use of e-cigarettes at least once was more common than having smoked a conventional cigarette among all age groups, except the oldest (15-16 year olds).
Some 5.8% of 10-11 year olds had tried e-cigarettes, compared to only 1.6% having smoked tobacco, while a sizeable proportion (12.3%) of 11-16 year olds said they had used e-cigarettes, irrespective of gender, ethnic background, or family affluence.
Dr. Graham Moore who led the research said that while experimentation with e-cigarettes is becoming common among youth in Wales, these figures suggest that e-cigarettes are unlikely to make a major direct contribution to adolescent nicotine addiction at present.
The strong relationship between current smoking and e-cigarette use suggested that teens were not using these products to help them quit smoking.
Moore added that although their study had provided an insight into the use of e-cigarettes, differences across studies in the questions used to measure e-cigarettes present something of a challenge for research in this area.
The study is published in the online journal BMJ Open.
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