More high school students in rural, northeast Tennessee use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, according to a recent study led by a researcher from the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.
[Photo: Dr. Daniel Owusu]
This region already has a higher rate of tobacco use than national and state averages, and Tennessee does not ban vaping in public places, making e-cigarettes more appealing to youth, the study stated. Therefore, the finding underscores “a critical need for preventative policies and programs to address this emerging public health issue locally, statewide, and nationally,” the study said.
To estimate the prevalence of e-cigarette use and other tobacco products by adolescents in the region, researchers conducted a survey of students at four high schools. A total of 894 male and female students, ages 14 to 22, were included in the analysis.
The results are published in the Journal of Community Health in the article “The Use of E-cigarettes Among School-Going Adolescents in a Predominantly Rural Environment of Central Appalachia.” The study’s lead author is Dr. Daniel Owusu, a postdoctoral research associate at Georgia State’s Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS).
Overall, 10.7 percent of the study participants reported they currently use e-cigarettes, and 35.1 percent had tried them. The data also showed that more than half of the current e-cigarette users were also smokers of regular cigarettes.
The study’s senior author is Dr. Hadii M. Mamudu, an associate professor at East Tennessee State University College of Public Health. The authors also include Jocelyn Aibangbee, Candice Collins, Dr. Liang Wang, Dr. Mary A. Littleton, and Rafie Boghozian with ETSU College of Public Health; Crystal Robertson with the Louisiana Department of Health; and Vicki Casenburg with the Sullivan County Regional Health Department.
TCORS, which was established at Georgia State in 2013, takes a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the human and economic factors that contribute to tobacco use. The Center seeks to generate research to inform government decision-making related to tobacco products to protect public health.
To learn more about the work at TCORS, go to: http://tcors.publichealth.gsu.edu/