Vaping in young adults does not lead to regular smoking, claims study
People aged 18 to 24 in England who vape do not generally use electronic cigarettes as a pathway to regularly smoking tobacco, according to a study.
Research carried out by University College London between 2007 and 2018, published in the journal Addiction, found there was no significant link between vaping and tobacco use amongst young adults.
The researchers, however, did not examine younger age groups and estimated that one in 10 teenagers who use electronic cigarettes will go on to smoke consistently.
“These findings suggest the large gateway effects reported in previous studies can be ruled out, particularly among those aged 18 to 24,” said the study’s lead author Dr Emma Beard.
“However, we cannot rule out a smaller gateway effect and we did not study younger age groups. If the upper estimates are true, we would estimate that of the 74,000 e-cigarette users aged 16 to 17 in England, around 7,000 would become ever regular smokers as a consequence of e-cigarette use.
“At the same time, approximately 50,000 smokers are estimated to quit per year as a consequence of e-cigarette use.”
Professor Lion Shahab, the study's senior author, said the results were "important given the contrasting advice given by health bodies and governments in different countries."
"Research to date supports the argument that e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco and help smokers to stop smoking. Although some harm from vaping relative to never vaping cannot be ruled out, this study suggests there is little evidence of a substantial gateway effect into smoking," he said.