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(CNN) - A recent investigation found that more middle and high school students in the United States are exposed to being passive smokers of electronic cigarettes in public places.
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Approximately one in three students last year said they had inhaled smoking electronic cigarette vapors, which is an increase compared to about one in four students who reported having been exposed in previous years, according to research published in the JAMA Network Open medical journal this Wednesday.
The research was based on self-reported data from the National Tobacco Survey for Young People, which collected information on exposure to tobacco smoke and electronic cigarette smoke among middle and high school students from 2015 to 2018.
Exposure in the survey was defined as breathing smoke or steam from smokers in indoor or outdoor public places for at least one day in the last 30 days. Those public places could include schools, shops, restaurants, sports stadiums, parking lots, stadiums or parks, for example.
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The data showed that between 2015 and 2018, approximately half of the students reported exposure to smoking, but that prevalence has been following a downward trend.
Smoke exposure from smokers impacted 52.6% of students in 2015 compared to 48.7% last year, according to the data.
Meanwhile, the data showed that the prevalence of smoking steam increased from exposure that impacted 25.2% of students in 2015 33.2% last year.
Data obtained last year showed that young women, white people, those with a history of using electronic cigarettes or tobacco, and those who lived with someone who used them were more likely to be exposed to smoke emitted by other people and Steamed emitted by other people.
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The researchers noted that, although "16 states and more than 800 municipalities have introduced laws to restrict the use of electronic cigarettes in 100% smoke-free or other places, including schools, in recent years," a growing proportion of young people in The United States has reported exposure to steam smoking in public places.
"This may be due to the increase in young people who use electronic cigarettes and other capsule-based devices, less vaping policies than non-smoking policies and fewer people who are willing to speak against others vaping in public places," the researchers wrote.
Overall, it is estimated that almost one in five high school students and one in 20 high school students use electronic cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. UU. The number of middle and high school students using electronic cigarettes increased from 2.1 million in 2017 to 3.6 million last year, a difference of approximately 1.5 million young people.
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The new research was not a surprise, because there has been a general increase in the use of electronic cigarettes in the United States in recent years, and a decrease in cigarette consumption, said Dr. Theodore Wagener, director of the Tobacco Research Center and co-leader of the cancer control program at the Comprehensive Cancer Center of the Ohio State University in Columbus, which was not involved in the new research.
However, the possible health impacts of increased exposure to steam from electronic cigarette smokers remain an enigma and have become an active area of study.
"We still don't know the long-term health effects and most people generally think they are safer than smoking cigarettes, so they are not too worried about exposing others to the steam of smokers," Wagener said.
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Wagener and his colleagues recently completed a study, which is currently under review and has not yet been published, which compared the levels of nicotine exposure and certain carcinogens among children living with non-smokers, only users of electronic cigarettes or smokers of cigarettes
When it comes to children living only with users of electronic cigarettes, "we definitely know that they are exposed to many of these tobacco toxins that we saw with cigarettes, but it seems to be at lower levels," Wagener said.
“What that means for downstream health, we still don't know. I wish we did, ”he said.