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Teens with Mental Health Problems More Likely to Take Up Cigarettes

vaping-mental health 526Teens with mental health problems were more likely to take up cigarettes, both electronic and regular, according to a longitudinal study.

Adolescents ages 12-17 with at least four externalizing symptoms (negative behaviors that are directed toward the external environment) — such as impulsive or disruptive conduct and substance use — were more likely to start using e-cigarettes compared to teens with low externalizing behaviors, reported Kira Riehm, MSc, of Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues.

Adolescents with four or more internalizing problems such as anxiety, depression, or somatic/physical symptoms were at an increased risk of initiating e-cigarette but not combustible use, compared to teens with zero or nominal symptoms, they wrote in Pediatrics.

The recent surge in youth e-cigarette use, which the U.S. Surgeon General and the FDA declared an “epidemic” in 2018, has inspired a growing body of literature that shows teens are more likely to transition to tobacco cigarettes or other substances when using e-cigarettes.

Mental health problems are also a known risk factor for combustible cigarette use, suggesting a similar correlation could be found with e-cigarettes, Riehm said.

Whether this trend towards e-cigarettes is driven by peer pressure, youth experimentation, or a means of self-medicating underlying depression or anxiety is an important question to consider, said Sharon McGrath-Morrow, MD, of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Excerpted from “Poor Mental Health Ups Risk for Teen E-Cigarette Use” in MedPage Today. Read the full article. The study was published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, .  View the study abstract: Mental Health Problems and Initiation of E-cigarette and Combustible Cigarette Use.

Source: MedPage Today | Poor Mental Health Ups Risk for Teen E-Cigarette Use, https://www.medpagetoday.com/primarycare/smoking/80215 | © 2019 MedPage Today, LLC

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