Vaping is not necessarily a gateway to smoking

One of the most used arguments against vaping is that it is a gateway to smoking tobacco. A study published last year says otherwise.

Bad news for anti-vaping campaigners, it seems that one of the biggest arguments against vaping may have been debunked, or at least delegitimised. Vaping has been a topic of much debate over the last few years and finding the evidence for and against is easy on the internet. Despite the evidence from the NHS and Cancer Research UK on the benefits of vaping, there are still those who see it as a threat, even to the point of whole countries not allowing the technology to be sold within their borders.

What is the argument?
In a study originally published by the Sun newspaper, it was reported that vaping has been linked with being a gateway to smoking. The newspaper did a study of over 10,000 12 to 17-year olds. They found that those who tried e cigarettes were 2.53 times more likely to to move on to the real thing. The argument for this was backed up by evidence from the University of California’s Dr Benjamin Chaffee who stated that the fact that nicotine was included in vape devices led to it increasing the likelihood of nicotine dependency in young people. That paired with alleged ease of access to vape devices meant that there was even more ammunition for anti-vaping campaigners.

What is the new study?
A new study published last year analyses the statistics from past studies and finds that vaping may not be as dangerous as lobbyists and parents may think. Published by the journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, the study finds differing results to past tests which have been hot off the heels of the anti-vaping furore. The findings were published by Lynn T Kozlowski and Kenneth E Warner and the results are intriguing to say the least.

What was different to past vape studies?
The new article, aside from being a critique of past studies, has asked the question of why people turn to cigarettes. They have concluded that many past studies have answered the question of how, but not why those who vape have turned to cigarettes. For instance, they have analysed a study from 2015 which studied the use of cigarettes compared to marijuana and other drugs. Studies such as these have defined smoking as having had at least one puff, rather than a regular habit, meaning that the answers will be far broader and less in depth.

The evidence has taken readings from the National Youth Tobacco Survey and the Centre for Disease Control as to show that there is no correlation between young people using combustible cigarettes and the increase in e cigarette usage. They also resent the fact that e cigarettes are classed as tobacco products. On top of this, the study found problems in that vape products such as devices running on vape batteries are not monitored in terms of the nicotine present in the vape juice. All of these factors mean that past studies have not set satisfactory defining factors within their studies and should thus be greeted with tentativeness.

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