American teens and young adults who are receptive to ads for electronic cigarettes are much more likely to start smoking tobacco cigarettes, a new study finds.
A nationwide analysis found that 12- to 24-year-olds who had never used tobacco products had high rates of receptivity -- meaning they recalled and/or liked -- for tobacco product ads.
They were most receptive to ads for e-cigarettes, followed by ads for cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and cigars. Receptivity increased with age, peaking at 69 percent among 18- to 21-year-olds.
Those who were receptive to ads for e-cigarettes, cigarettes and cigars were more likely to try those respective products within a year, the study found.
The researchers also uncovered a startling trend among 12- to 21-year-olds who had never smoked. Those who were receptive to e-cigarette ads were 60 percent more likely to try cigarettes within a year, the study found.
The study was published March 26 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
"There is a growing body of evidence that adolescents who start with an e-cigarette may transition to cigarettes," study lead author John Pierce said.
He is a retired professor of cancer prevention at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Cancer Center.
"This study provides the first evidence that e-cigarette advertising is one of the risk factors for those who are underage to become cigarette smokers," he said in a university news release.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on e-cigarettes and youth.
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