The Brits have done it again, this time releasing a new vaping study directed specifically at teenagers. American public health organizations like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have long pushed the belief that vaping is a gateway to smoking.
The new research published by the UK Centre for Substance Abuse Research indicates otherwise. Instead of a gateway, British teens view vaping as a roadblock.
The study took targets young people between the ages of 16 to 25 residing in either England or Scotland. The scientists asked participants their views on everything from smoking to e-cigarettes and the presumed dangers of each. The research entitled E-cigarettes: Gateway or roadblock to cigarette smoking? is readily available on the Science Direct website.
"There was very little indication amongst the young people interviewed that e-cigarettes were resulting in an increased likelihood of young people smoking…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."
Vaping is not a gateway to teen smoking
Perhaps even more importantly, the study clearly shows that teenagers are not as gullible or naive as the CDC and the FDA like to belief. By conducting extensive interviews with the control group of teenage volunteers, a significantly large percentage of the participants appear to be extremely knowledgeable about the perceived dangers of vaping. One such teenager issued the following statement.
"I think it's usually people who are trying to stop smoking who vape. I mean there is the odd person who does it because it's cool and that might influence them to want to try smoking, but I think on the whole it's the other way round. It's people vaping who have given up smoking."
Others remain somewhat uncertain. Just like in the USA, teenagers in Great Britain are often bombarded with media reports that suggest vaping is just as deadly as smoked tobacco. But if there is any level of consistent uncertainty among this group of Brits, it doesn’t usually involve the debate regarding e-cigs being safer than smoking. The uncertainty lies in the potential health risks of long-term use.
"It took over 40 years for them to find out that smoking was really bad for you. So I don't know whether they will come out with something in the long term that will say 'it's bad for you'," said one participant. "I don't think it's going to be any worse than smoking, but for people who don't smoke and who are vaping, I'd say there was a question mark over whether or not it's good or bad in the long term."
Wow. Are teens really capable of using basic common sense when deciphering the barrage of anti-vaping propaganda that comes across their social media feeds? It appears so, at least in Great Britain. Now, if only they could teach their parents and school officials the same sorts of reasoning skills, then we might really be on to something!
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