According to new research, use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) has more than tripled among students in Poland. The research was led by Maciej Goniewicz, PhD, PharmD, and was conducted in collaboration with researchers at the Medical University of Silesia in Poland.

The researchers analyzed e-cigarette use among 1,760 students aged 15 to 19 years attending 17 schools in 2010 to 2011, as well as 1,970 students attending 21 schools in 2013 to 2014. Students from 13 schools participated in both studies.

A news release from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute notes that e-cigarette use was notably higher in the 2013 to 2014 sample than in the 2011 to 2012 sample. The share of students who ever tried e-cigarettes increased from 16.8% (2010 to 2011) to 61.1% (2013 to 2014). In addition, current e-cigarette use increased from 5.5% to 29.9%, and use of both e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes increased from 65.3% (2010 to 2011) to 72.4% (2013 to 2014).

Goniewicz says the findings suggest that e-cigarettes are not replacing conventional tobacco cigarettes, at least in this age group. The Roswell Park Cancer Institute news release indicates that the higher rates of use by youth in Poland might be attributed to a combination of factors, including age differences, more aggressive marketing campaigns and less comprehensive tobacco-control policies that cover e-cigarettes, according to Goniewicz.

The results of the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), a similar study, revealed that ever-use and current use of e-cigarettes doubled among people in the United States.

Andrew Hyland, PhD, states, “While overall e-cigarettes appear to be less harmful than conventional cigarettes, they are not safe. Scientific research ongoing at Roswell Park and at other research facilities will help to more clearly delineate the health risks and net public health impact of e-cigarettes.”

Source: Roswell Park Cancer Institute