The argument that young people will switch from vapers to smokers has always been used against ecigarettes industry and this claim couldn’t be disputed until now. An esteemed doctor from the Health Sciences Center at Oklahoma University conducted a survey on 1,300 college students to determine if e-cigarettes do not lead to smoking.
The dispute really exploded after the United States CDC issued a warning that vaping has become increasingly common with underage people and young adults, and it could be a gateway of getting people addicted to nicotine and eventually smoking. Their statistics showed that in only one year, the number of kids in grades six to twelve who had tried actual cigarettes has increased from 3.3% to 6.8%. Out of the 2.1% who were also vapers, more than 75% admitted to also smoking tobacco cigarettes. These results have fueled the arguments of ecig opponents and much controversy was created on online forums and discussion boards.
But let’s not get carried away. On his website, Dr. Michael Siegel noted that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention forgot to mention in their report that most of the youngsters who were also ecigarette users, had already tried tobacco products. According to the journal Addictive Behaviors, the use of electronic cigarettes among non smoking youths is quite low. In a survey conducted in 2010, out of 1,729 students, the number of non-smokers who had experimented with ecigs in the past thirty days was two. In June 2011, from 1,345 questioned students, 5 had experienced ecigs in the last month.
To prove that ecigarettes are not actually a gateway to later smoking, a study was needed, and as a coincidence, Dr. Theodore Wagener was working on exactly this.
Professor Wagener and his team did a survey on 1,300 college students about their tobacco habits. From the 1,300 only 43 of them declared their first nicotine purchase was an ecigarette (3.3%). Out of these, only one person admitted to have smoke real cigarettes afterwards.
“This study provides preliminary evidence that electronic cigarettes are not currently serving as a major gateway to cigarette smoking […] Of course, more studies of this nature, as well as longitudinal studies, are necessary to firmly answer this question. And importantly, this only reflects the current situation and things can change at any time. It is important that we remain vigilant and closely monitor youth electronic cigarette use over time” Professor Wagener concluded.
Don’t get us wrong, the problem of ecigarettes introducing youngsters to tobacco shouldn’t ignored, and we must be aware, but in the meantime we shouldn’t draw pre-determined conclusions and present them as actual scientific facts.
There is still much research needed to be done and perhaps we should focus more on the benefits of these devices rather than blindingly incriminating them without serious evidence.