Electronic Cigarettes NOT a Gateway to Real Cigarettes, Says Study
The largest study ever of electronic cigarette use in Europe has shed light on the type of people using them and alleviated fears that they are a gateway to smoking real cigarettes.
According to New Scientist, "One of the big concerns around the use of e-cigarettes, or "vaping", is that they tempt people who don't already smoke, getting them hooked on nicotine. Although they are generally considered safer than smoking, the jury is still out on the long-term health effects of vaping. Some people also worry that e-cigarettes could renormalize smoking and be a gateway to smoking real cigarettes - especially in young people."
The research of Stanton Glantz, University of California in San Francisco, found that the use of e-cigarettes in US middle and high school students - aged 12 to 18 years old - was associated with a higher likelihood of also smoking real cigarettes, reported Fox News.
Glantz's research did not show whether those people smoked prior to using electronic cigarettes, so it would be difficult to say whether e-cigs are a gateway.
Constantine Vardavas and his colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health analysed survey data collected from over 26,500 people across 27 countries in Europe in 2012 for this latest study. By extrapolating their data, they estimated that 29 million Europeans have used an e-cigarette, and that users are likely to be heavy smokers, and to have tried to kick the habit over the past year.
Electronic cigarette use was highest in smokers aged 15 to 24, however the study found little evidence that it was encouraging non-smokers to pick up the habit.
"This study verifies that e-cigarette use does not renormalize smoking," says Konstantinos Farsalinos, a cardiologist at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens, Greece. "The results show minimal adoption by non-smokers."
The two sides of electronic cigarette use are on one hand, e-cigarette use may be encouraging smokers to quit. On the other hand, maintained nicotine addiction may severely hinder tobacco endgame efforts.
The research on electronic cigarettes was published in the journal Tobacco Control.