Karen PershingThere’s lots of buzz about e-cigarettes these days.  To date there has been very little research on these products. The New York Times recently reported a study that said, “teens who use e-cigarettes are more likely than their peers who do not use the devices to smoke regular cigarettes.”

Stanton Glantz who led the study out of the University of California, San Francisco, said the results suggest e-cigarettes lead to less quitting.  “The use of e-cigarettes does not discourage, and may encourage, conventional cigarette use among U.S. adolescents.”

On the flip side, there are other experts who argue that young people who use e-cigarettes are heavier smokers to begin with.  While many, including the e-cigarette manufacturers,  say they may help people quit smoking regular cigarettes. Are they a gateway to smoking real cigarettes?

A large national survey published in 2013 found many young people who use e-cigarettes also smoke real cigarettes.  They also found the rate of e-cigarette use among teens doubled from 2011-2012, with a record low rate of 9.6 percent for regular cigarettes.

Is this a trend we are seeing in Knox County?  Unfortunately, we do not know the answer at this time.  We are, nonetheless, in the process of conducting surveys  in our community to see if we are observing similar trends. Stay tuned!