HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By. Jolanie Martinez, HNN Intern
In 2015, the UH Cancer Center found Hawaii teens who used e-cigarettes, but never smoked tobacco cigarettes, were more likely to begin smoking tobacco cigarettes one year later.
After a review of nine e-cigarette studies across the U.S. including that of Hawaii, it confirms that this concerning habit is trending nationwide.
"The findings that we contained in Hawaii was quite consistent with all the nine studies and this is true for adolescents and young adults," said UH Cancer Center Researcher, Dr. Thomas Wills.
Studies conclude that teens are three times more likely to start smoking tobacco cigarettes a year later while young adults are four times more likely to do so.
Although Hawaii has a low rate of cigarette smoking, it holds one of the highest rates of e-cigarette use. Associate Member of the UH Cancer Center, Rebecca Schweitzer addresses the rising use of e-cigarettes amongst adolescents.
"So it's definitely alarming for Hawaii that most of our adolescents have at least tried an e-cigarette once in their lifetime or are currently using e-cigarettes," said Schweitzer.
According to a 2016 Hawaii youth survey by the Hawaii Department of Health, 49 percent of high school students had used e-cigarettes while half of the students were daily users.
During their studies, the UH Cancer Center also found a possible health effect to the use of e-cigarettes.
"What we found in those data is that adolescents who used e-cigarettes were more likely to report having asthma at the same point in time," said Wills.
However, more research is needed to confirm the findings.
"Although we can't say for sure there is cause and effect, there is some alarm that more research is needed to really solidify this relationship," Schweitzer said.