Just last week, the Pharmaceutical Journal made the hilarious claim that many teens (34%) who tried e-cigs then went on to smoking tobacco cigarettes within 12 months of trying their first e-cigarette. How any professional, research or amateur organization can continue pressing on with anti-vaping rhetoric, in a bid to scare the public, is beyond us.
For starters, the well-known charity ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) came out and stated that this study found nothing new, and that regular vaping remained uncommon with teenagers in the UK. Is it shocking to see that teens who vaped were then more likely to smoke and vice versa? No, it’s not.
Secondly, there is a wealth of information regarding a supposed increase in teen smoking rates due to e-cig usage. For example, take this research study which showed that for every one percentage point increase in teen vaping, there was roughly a 0.75 percentage point drop in teen tobacco smoking. Keep in mind the study linked to above is definitive, whereas the Pharmaceutical Journal literally came out and basically said that their report should be taken with a (giant) grain of salt.
Lastly, and here’s the kicker. Public Health England just came out and said that “e-cigarette teen warnings (are) unfounded”. Their study went even further, stating that only 3% of teens use e-cigs at least once a week and that teen usage was highly concentrated in those who already smoked tobacco cigarettes. Add to the fact that, at most, only 0.5% of teens who never smoked continued to use e-cigs regularly and, well, you get the point. Teens who never smoked are NOT picking up vaping as a regular habit.
As for transitioning to smoking or vaping being a gateway to tobacco: there is also no concrete information that suggests this to be true. If anything, it’s the opposite. Teen smoking rates have dropped rapidly year over year, for over a decade now. The CEO of ASH, Deborah Arnott, came out and said that even though there are a small number of teens who try e-cigarettes, it doesn’t seem like this is translating into regular vaping or tobacco smoking usage.
With the right regulations in place as we have here in the UK, this is nothing to worry about. As always, don’t listen to the media hype and articles using extremely sensationalised titles. That’s all it is – pure hyperbole.
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