E-cigarette controversy: Study finds young people not looking at e-cigarettes as ‘a stepping stone to smoking’

By @ritwikroy1985 on
E-cigarette
Hudson Kerker minds his booth at the Vape Summit 3 in Las Vegas, Nevada May 2, 2015. Reuters/David Becker

A new study has claimed that e-cigarettes are acting as a roadblock to tobacco. They are playing an important role in mitigating smoking likelihood in youngsters. E-cigarettes are acting as a hindrance to combustible tobacco. Young people from the UK, aged 16-25 years, were involved in detailed qualitative interviews.

Most of the participants looked at e-cigarettes in positive light in which they thought that they have reduced and not increased the possibility of smoking, not only in them, but also in other people. Lead researcher Neil McKeganey, from Centre for Substance Use Research in Scotland, said that there was little indication from the participants that e-cigarettes increased the likelihood of smoking in young people.

McKeganey also pointed out in the study that majority of the participants interviewed, including those who were already vaping, looked at smoking in a very negative way and considered e-cigarettes as completely different from vaping. Moreover, a vast majority of the participants who collectively represented non-smokers, former smokers, and vapers, believed that e-cigarettes offer smokers an alternative to the “extremely harmful” habit of smoking tobacco.

“It’s more concerning, particularly for the young people who currently smoke, that inaccurate perceptions of e-cigarettes could result in the persistent use of combustible tobacco irrespective of the fact that Public Health England has concluded vaping is 95 percent less harmful than conventional cigarettes,” McKeganey said.

Some of the participants mentioned that they were confused because of numerous reports stating the ill-effects of vaping and that e-cigarettes are equally bad for health as tobacco cigarettes. This made them reluctant and confused about using the device. According to McKeganey, this has resulted in many not quitting tobacco cigarettes when they could have easily switch over to e-cigarettes.

Surprisingly, the researchers found no evidence of youngsters looking at vaping as a stepping-stone to smoking, as opposed to popular belief.

“What was equally clear from our research is that the much debated ‘Gateway’ theory is not materialising. There was nothing to suggest that youngsters see vaping as a stepping stone to smoking -- quite the opposite,” McKeganey concluded.