The Centre of Substance Use Research in Glasgow have presented a paper at a large tobacco conference in Poland stating that vaping has reduced the possibility of young people starting to smoke.
It was believed that the sweet flavours and packaging of e-cigarettes and e-liquid could be attracting young people into vaping who wouldn’t ordinarily have smoked. This has lead to the belief that vaping is a ‘gateway’ into traditional smoking habits. The study interviewed a number of young people in Scotland who were a mix of current and former smokers, non smokers and e-cigarette users and was found to contradict the gateway theory.
Dr Neil McKeganey from the Centre of Substance Use Research said “There was very little indication amongst the young people interviewed that e-cigarettes were resulting in an increased likelihood of young people smoking.” He continued, “In fact the majority we interviewed, including those who were vaping, perceived smoking in very negative terms and saw vaping as being entirely different to smoking.” The participants were reported to view tobacco as “extremely harmful” and believed that e cigarettes were a safer and less toxic alternative to traditional smoking.
Dr McKeganey continued “What was apparent is that this persistent view, expressed by some young people, that vaping was just as harmful as smoking, was resulting in some young people continuing to smoke when they might otherwise have quit. But 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.”
This view was further backed by Sheila Duffy chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health Scotland who said “The evidence we have suggests that smoking a tobacco cigarette is more harmful, more expensive and more addictive than using an electronic cigarette. We would like our young people to grow up free from any addictive substances, but believe that e-cigarettes can have a beneficial impact if young people vape when they would otherwise have smoked, or if they help young people stop using tobacco. Our hope is that electronic cigarettes help to reduce the number of people in Scotland using tobacco and help the next generation grow up with tobacco out of sight, out of mind and out of fashion.”