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E-cigarette Use Among College Students Is linked To Depression, Study Finds

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Study suggests that depression is linked to college students' use of e-cigarettes.
(Photo : Getty Images/Justin Sullivan)

The use of electronic cigarettes continues to rise, most especially for college students, and experts have continually questioned and researched about its impact on a person's health. A new study conducted by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) found that the use of e-cigarettes among college students is associated with depression, Science Daily reported.

Lead author Frank Bandiera, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health in Dallas said that this is the first study that has established the longitudinal relationship between using e-cigarettes and symptoms of depressions.

The research involved 5,445 undergraduates from the 24 colleges in Texas. It was observed that students who experienced elevated levels of depressive symptoms were the ones who had higher likelihood of using e-cigarettes than those who did not experience the same. However, it was also found that using e-cigarettes did not seem to lead students to depression.

According to Medical Xpress, Bandiera stated that they have not figured out yet how depression leads to e-cigarette use, as it may only be self-medication, just like when people use cigarettes. When students feel stressed out, it makes them feel better when they use e-cigarettes. It is also possible that since e-cigarettes are being advertised as a means to end cigarette smoking habits, students who are depressed resort to e-cigarettes so that they can quit cigarette smoking.

However, Bandiera also made it clear that there is very little published clinical research that supports the claim that using e-cigarettes can help people quit smoking traditional cigarettes. He wrote in a paper that since e-cigarettes usually have lower nicotine content per puff than the normal cigarettes, it is possible that the low nicotine content is the explanation of the findings.

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