No vaping-smoking gateway

| August 19, 2016

The majority of young UK vapers interviewed as part of a recent study believed that vaping made smoking seem abnormal. They regarded vaping as socially very distant from smoking and much less harmful, according to a story by Dr. Lila Abassi, a physician at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, New York City, US, citing a study carried out by the UK Centre for Substance Use Research and reported on at the Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw in June.

Abassi said that in the UK, Public Health England characterized vaping as being up to 95 percent less harmful than smoking and an aid to helping smokers attempting to quit. In the US, government officials and those funded by government argued that electronic cigarettes could be a gateway to smoking. To-date, however, the number of ‘nicotine naive’ young people who started with electronic cigarettes and moved to smoking was statistically so tiny as to be chance.

“There is very little indication amongst the young people interviewed that e-cigarettes were resulting in an increased likelihood of young people smoking,” according to Dr. Neil McKeganey, who is the founding director of the Centre for Drug Misuse Research within the University of Glasgow.  “In fact the majority of participants we interviewed, including those [who] were vaping, perceived smoking in very negative terms and saw vaping as being entirely different to smoking.”

Abassi said that McKeganey was worried about claims that electronic cigarettes were as bad as smoking, and how such claims would keep smoking around. It was the key tactic of the ‘quit or die’ mentality that had plagued the modern War on Smoking. “But what was equally clear from our research is that much debated ‘gateway’ theory is not materializing,” he said. “There was nothing to suggest that youngsters see vaping as a stepping stone to smoking – quite the opposite.”

Abassi said the study was funded by Fontem Ventures, a subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco and a company that develops non-tobacco alternatives, including electronic cigarettes. She said the agency conducting the survey had worked for the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and other governmental bodies.

Category: Breaking News

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