A recent study done by researchers from the University of Victoria shows there is no convincing evidence that vaping using electronic cigarette devices acts as a gateway to tobacco cigarette smoking in young people.
The study known as “Clearing the Air: A systematic review on the harms and benefits of electronic cigarettes and vapor devices” reviewed 170 related journal articles to draw the following four conclusions:
- There is no convincing evidence that using an electronic cigarette makes youth more likely to start smoking real tobacco cigarettes.
- Vaping appears to be as effective as many other nicotine replacement devices/methods used in quitting smoking.
- Vapor from electronic cigarettes is less toxic compared to the smoke emitted from tobacco cigarettes.
- Second hand vapor exposure from e-cigarettes is less harmful compared to the exposure of the smoke from tobacco cigarettes.
Dr Marjorie MacDonald, the study co-author says “We were pleasantly surprised, This is a very common thing you hear among tobacco control colleagues” that vaping will lead to youth’s using tobacco cigarettes down the line, but there seems to be no evidence suggesting this at all.
When comparing vaping devices with tobacco cigarettes, Dr MacDonald says “I would have to say that cigarette smoking is more harmful”. Still, vaping has many critics.
The U.S Surgeon General warned last month that electronic cigarettes have the potential to create a new generation of youth that are addicted to nicotine.
Dr MacDonald says there is research though that has found that not allowing young people to vape, may in fact be counterproductive from a public health standpoint.
In the U.S, many states have outright banned the sale of vaping devices to youth altogether and in those very states, coincidentally the rates of tobacco smoking are higher compared to states that do not ban the devices for sale.
MacDonald also states that in addition to more research, the next step is to both standardize vaping devices and accessories as well as regulate them so there are standards to producing safe and effective devices.
The federal government in November announced legislation to regulate the manufacturing, sale and labelling through production of electronic cigarette devices and related products.