HealthDay News — Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use is associated with increased subsequent marijuana use among adolescents, according to a study published online April 23 in Pediatrics.
Hongying Dai, Ph.D., from Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., and colleagues examined the correlation between youth e-cigarette use and subsequent marijuana use in a nationally representative sample. Never marijuana users (aged 12 to 17 years) at Wave 1 (10,364 participants; 2013 to 2014) from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health study were followed up at Wave 2 (2014 to 2015).
The researchers found that among never marijuana users, e-cigarette ever use at Wave 1 was associated with increased likelihood of marijuana use in the past 12 months at Wave 2 (adjusted odds ratio, 1.9), compared with never use. A significant interaction was seen for e-cigarette use and age group, with adjusted odds ratios of 2.7 and 1.6 for adolescents aged 12 to 14 and 15 to 17 years, respectively.
Among younger adolescents, the correlation with heavy marijuana use was significant (adjusted odds ratio, 2.5), but not among older adolescents. For younger adolescents, reporting a larger number of e-cigarettes/cartridges used in lifetime at Wave 1 correlated with increased odds of marijuana use in the past 12 months and heavy marijuana use at Wave 2.
“E-cigarette use predicts subsequent marijuana use among youth, with a stronger association among young adolescents,” the authors write. “Policies to reduce youth access to e-cigarettes may have downstream effects on marijuana use.”