Study Finds Youth Smokers Begin their Habit Because of Sweet Flavoring

Analysis by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that most teens who use tobacco start with flavored products.

“Consistent with national school-based estimates, this study confirms widespread appeal of flavored products among youth tobacco users,” the authors, led by Bridget K. Ambrose of the Center for Tobacco Products at the FDA, wrote in their study’s abstract.

Many youth said flavoring such as bubble gum, mint and chocolate was a reason to use e-cigarettes, hookahs, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and snus pouches, the researchers reported.

The study, “Flavored Tobacco Product Use Among US Youth Aged 12-17 Years, 2013-2014,” appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association this week.

Most tobacco use begins during youth and young adulthood, and although cigarette use has been declining, other products like e-cigarettes and hookah are becoming more common, they wrote.

The researchers used data from a nationally representative study of nearly 46,000 U.S. adults and youth ages 12 to 17 who answered questions about use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, hookahs, cigars, pipe tobacco, smokeless tobacco, dissolvable tobacco and other products.

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