Vaping not a gateway to smoking

| August 15, 2016

An Australian tobacco treatment specialist has rebutted the idea that vaping is a gateway to smoking for young people.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Colin Mendelsohn said that whereas opponents of electronic cigarettes claimed that these devices acted as a gateway to smoking for young people, 10 years of experience in the UK, US and Europe suggested the opposite was true — that electronic cigarettes might be reducing adolescent smoking rates.

Mendelsohn teaches in the Nicotine Dependence and Smoking Cessation course at the University of Sydney and conducts training for health professionals around Australia.

He said experimentation was a normal part of adolescence and that many would try electronic cigarettes, mostly out of curiosity.

However, he added, it was rare for non-smoking youths to become regular electronic cigarette users. In the UK, fewer than 0.2 per cent of youths who had never smoked vaped regularly, and there was no evidence of progression from vaping to smoking.

Regular electronic cigarette use was almost exclusively confined to young people who already smoked.

‘As e-cigarette use by adolescents is rising in many countries, adolescent smoking rates are falling faster than ever,’ Mendelsohn said.

‘For example, in the US, the National Youth Tobacco Surveys found that e-cigarette use by high school students rose from 1.5 percent to 13.4 percent from 2011 to 2014. However, conventional cigarette smoking fell from 15.8 percent to an all-time low of 9.2 percent during the same period, the most rapid rate of decline on record.

‘If a gateway mechanism is operating, an increase in smoking rates would be expected.’

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Category: Breaking News

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