As time passes and scientists are supposed to begin revealing studies showing us that vaping, despite all signs to the contrary, is just as dangerous and addictive as smoking, these studies have been slow to come by. By contrast, studies and surveys supporting the stance that vaping is immeasurably better than smoking combustible cigarettes in most respects have been popping up all over the place.
A recent survey conducted in the UK, for instance, has added yet another data point to the expanding cache of evidence cementing that vaping is not actually a gateway drug into smoking, and that vaping among teenagers is not a serious concern. This survey, which made use of a 10,000 strong nationally representative sample of school aged Welsh children (ages 10 to 16), showed that, despite the fact that electronic cigarettes have been gaining in popularity at relatively high rates, they have not led to an increase in smoking or nicotine addiction among teenagers. Electronic cigarettes, far from paving the way for future smokers, don’t even appear to be paving the way for future vapers. Instead, they appear to simply be one of the many novelties teenagers try once or twice, only to completely forget about it once the next novelty comes along.
Out of the entire study population of more than 10,000, only 23 subjects who had never smoked used e-cigs regularly. That makes for a full 0.3% of UK 10-16 year olds, which strikes me as a negligible proportion. Moreover, only 4.8%, or 333, of all subjects who had never smoked had ever tried cigarettes. Electronic cigarette use, as expected, was primarily associated with current smoking. This may be explained by a number of factors. The most plausible, to me, is that this overlap between smoking and vaping is mostly correlative as opposed to causal. It’s pretty clear that, given the image of vaping as akin to smoking, vaping would hold a similar appeal for teenagers. If this explanation is true, then the campaign to demonize vaping is probably leading to more teenage vaping. I don’t have much against vaping, so that doesn’t bother me, but it might be something anti-vaping activists would take issue with.
Some other interesting points also came up in this study. Though in proportional terms many more subjects had tried e-cigs who had also tried tobacco compared with never-smokers, this is largely an artifact of the fact that most of subjects overall had tried tobacco. In absolute numbers, half of the subjects who had tried e-cigs had never tried tobacco. This might invite a number of conclusions, among them that e-cig use clearly does not correlate as heavily with tobacco experimentation as we might have thought. Given that regular e-cig usage is almost non-existent among kids who had never smoked, this might mean that half of those who try e-cigs will likely never try it again.
So add yet another piece of evidence to the mountain of evidence that’s now been assembled in support of vaping!