Gov't Study Shows Smokers Use Multiple Means

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Initial findings from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study reveal tobacco consumers use a combination of products, including electronic cigarettes.

According to The Associated Press, the findings are preliminary, but highlight key questions as government officials assess e-cigarettes.

At a meeting of nicotine researchers on Feb. 26, Dr. Andrew Hyland of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute presented the preliminary findings from the first 20,000 people to enroll in the study — a baseline as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) track how use of tobacco products, or alternatives like tobacco-free e-cigarettes, is evolving.

Hyland is the primary investigator for the government study of trends in smoking and tobacco use. He said 28 percent of adults and nearly 9 percent of youths reported they currently use "any" type of tobacco product, according to the news report. In addition, about 40 percent of these current tobacco users report using two or more products. 

Half say battery-powered e-cigarettes are one of the multiple products they use, the initial results found. In fact, the most common combination was cigarettes and e-cigarettes.

According to the AP, Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, said the early findings showing use of more than one type of tobacco product are compelling and underscore "how popular e-cigarettes have become."

The PATH study will follow 46,000 people aged 12 and older for five years, and serve as a source of information as the FDA decides how to regulate tobacco-related products.

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