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Teen Smoking

“E-cigs are a Gateway to Tobacco”: More Scare Tactics

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We’re sorry if we’re being a bit overdramatic here, and we had no intention of writing a title just to get you interested in what we have to say. We want to report on the truth and the truth you shall receive!

The above quote (in quotation marks) was part of a recent article title in The Sun. As has been the case now for, oh, 10 years, people are yet again trying to make the claim that e-cigs lead teens to tobacco cigarettes.

So, we’ll start first with the data in The Sun’s article. To sum it up for you, the article said that a study of 44,000 school children in Canada was conducted and that it found strong evidence which suggests that e-cigs are associated with taking up fags. If you’re interested in reading the study in its entirety, you can do so here. However, once you read past all the hyperbole, you’ll see that it’s just smoke and mirrors.

For starters, association doesn’t mean causation. Just because there is an association doesn’t mean e-cigs are the cause. The lead author of the report, David Hammond, actually said, “E-cigarettes may help to re-normalise smoking, however, the association between e-cigarettes and smoking may simply reflect common factors rather than a causal effect: the same individual and social risk factors that increase e-cigarette use may also increase the likelihood of youth smoking.”

Secondly, they also noted an abundance of past research that has shown smoking declines over time, and thus that the “impact of e-cigarettes on youth smoking rates may still be minimal.” Let’s not forget that the link between teen e-cig and smoking usage was disproven yet again recently in a landmark study. So no: e-cigs are not a gateway to tobacco.

Conspiracy Theories

We’re not ones for conspiracy theories but a whole bunch are popping up all over the place. One is with the recent aggressive PR push from Big Tobacco about their IQOS device. It’s worth noting that 1-2 years ago, Big Tobacco seemed to be on the vaping bandwagon. But, it now seems they are putting many of their eggs into one basket: heat sticks (IQOS type of devices). Is Big Tobacco behind this stunt that says e-cigs are a gateway to fags? Probably not. But, it hasn’t stopped many people from making these accusations.

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