Study Shows Teens Who Exercise More Are Also More Likely To Smoke E-Cigarettes
Joymy reports, Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Exercise can make you physically and mentally healthier, but that may not include learning to make the right decisions, according to a foreign news release.
A recent University of Georgia study reported that high school students who exercised four to five days a week were 23 % more likely to use e-cigarettes than their sedentary peers.
This finding applies even to students who only occasionally participate in physical activity. Teens who exercised two to three days a week were still 11 percent more likely to smoke e-cigarettes, the researchers said.
"Our young people, who tend to be physically fit, are at higher risk of using e-vapor products. This may be because e-cigarettes are considered a healthier option than traditional smoking." Janani Rajbhandari-Thapa, lead author of the study and an associate professor in the UGA School of Public Health, explained in a statement. "Marketing campaigns market e-cigarettes as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, but data show that additives in e-cigarette products are associated with lung damage related to e-cigarette or e-cigarette product use."
It can cause potential health problems, such as teen addiction, if teens continue to mistakenly believe it is a better alternative to cigarettes. E-cigarettes contain many cancer-causing chemicals. For example, what is commonly thought of as water vapor is a mixture of nicotine and benzene, a chemical found in car exhaust.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the different flavors offered in e-cigarettes have been linked to lung disease.
E-cigarettes are not regulated, so nicotine levels may vary by brand. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that most e-cigarettes have higher nicotine concentrations than traditional cigarettes.
Compared to cigarettes, which have been stigmatized in recent decades, e-cigarette products are relatively new. Little is known about them, they are cheaper to use, don't smell like tobacco and are easier to use in public, including in smoke-free areas.
"We have to make parents more aware that smoking e-cigarettes is not okay," Tapa explained. "If I didn't think about my public health expertise, as a parent, I might think, well, my kid isn't smoking. It's OK that he's smoking an e-cigarette. But that's not the case. We have evidence of how harmful e-cigarettes can be."
The current study involved collecting data from a 2018 survey conducted by the Georgia Department of Education. It included responses from more than 362,000 high school students from 439 schools in the state. 11 percent of students admitted to smoking an e-cigarette product - an e-cigarette, e-pipe, e-cigarette pen or hookah pen - at least once in the past month. About 7 percent reported using e-vapor products at least one day in the past 30 days. Another 4 percent reported that they smoked both e-cigarette products and cigarettes. Although overall, 1% of high school students reported that they only smoked.
Male students were more likely than female students to smoke or vape e-cigarettes. Upperclassmen were also more likely to smoke than lowerclassmen.
A surprising finding was that students who exercised physically were more likely to use e-cigarettes than students who exercised for a day or less. This was despite the fact that these students were less likely to use cigarettes or to mix e-cigarette products with traditional cigarettes.
Physical activity students who met physical activity guidelines were at higher risk for e-cigarette use, which raises concerns about health beliefs and participation in risky behaviors, Thapa said.
I hope this finding will specifically inform our state lawmakers to address risky behaviors, said Thapa. substance use behaviors among our state's youth. Limiting e-cigarette use by restricting marketing, disallowing e-cigarette use around schools and implementing school-level policies to discourage e-cigarette use - we hope our research will inform these policies because e-cigarettes are a threat to high school students.
The study was published in the journal Tobacco Use Insight.