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UK vaping study indicates vaping is a roadblock to smoking, not a gateway

There has been much debate among American public health agencies suggesting that e-cigs are a gateway to teen smoking, but a new UK vaping study seemingly indicates the exact opposite view.  According to research published by the UK Centre for Substance Abuse Research, British teens who experiment with vaping are far less likely to make the dramatic leap to smoking combustible cigarettes in the future.

The scientists began by targeting a group of young people ages 16 to 25 from areas of Great Britain and Scotland.  The participants fell into a variety of different categories, including current smokers, former smokers, never-smokers, and vapers.  By conducting a series of one-on-one interviews combined with the volunteers’ participation in surveys and questionnaires about their vaping and/or smoking habits, the researchers determined the following.

"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."


The vaping study entitled E-cigarettes: Gateway or roadblock to cigarette smoking? is readily available on the Science Direct website.  Many of the teens seemed to understand that vaping is considered up to 95 percent healthier and safer than convention smoking.  This assertion is perhaps most often attributed to the Brits’ own Royal College of Physicians which made this claim based on scientific research published just last year.  Still, there were other participants in the group who were less optimistic about the long-term health benefits of vaping.

UK vaping study publishes interviews with teens

According to some of the young people involved, vaping is not an activity that is considered “cool” and “trendy,” contrary to what many anti-vaping activists like to claim.  In fact, many of the young participants expressed a distinct awareness of the possible dangers of vaping – beliefs that may or may not be entirely accurate but that were partially developed after listening to enormous amounts of anti-vaping rhetoric online and in the mainstream media.  One teen stated the following.

"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."

An eighteen-year-old stated that vaping is more of a roadblock to continued smoking addiction than it is a gateway.

 "I think vaping is having an effect on smoking cigarettes in that it's taking away from it. People are moving off cigarettes and moving onto vaping."

And another young participant seemed to support this view.

"I think if vaping becomes more common, then smoking is going to become more uncommon because it's the aspect of quitting. I think vaping will replace smoking."

Still, many of the volunteers expressed concern over the possible long-term effects of vaping.  Even though they believe e-cigs to be significantly healthier than tobacco products, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they believe e-cigarettes to be 100% harm-free.  One very insightful participant noted that it took the medical community over 40 years to finally come out and denounce smoking as bad for your health.

But given the choice between vaping over smoking, that’s still a no-brainer. Vaping wins, hands down!


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