A study conducted by the Centre for Substance Use and Research (CSUR) in Glasgow found that younger people do not see ecigarettes as making smoking tobacco acceptable, and most did not want to try ecigarettes after seeing them used either. The study was recently published in the American peer-reviewed journal International Archives of Addiction Research and Medicine.
Teenagers not impressionable when it comes to vaping
Opponents of vaping justify bans on ecigarettes with the “think of the children” argument, or essentially that young people are impressionable and will want to smoke ecigarettes, and eventually cigarettes, if they see their use normalised. The CSUR study was conducted on participants aged 16-29 and it found that not only were the participants not tempted to try e-cigarettes based on seeing them used, but that they regarded them as tobacco harm reduction products and not as the next fad. In fact, almost all the study participants, 96%, knew that ecigarettes were different from tobacco cigarettes, and were not interested in vaping.
- 38% of respondents said that seeing public ecigarette use didn’t make them curious about it at all
- 61% of respondents said that they were curious about what ecigarettes were after seeing public use, but only a third of that group tried them after seeing them
There was no reported change in the study participant’s desire to smoke tobacco cigarettes after seeing ecigarettes used at all.
Results cast doubt on vaping being a gateway to smoking for youth
CSUR director and lead author of the study, Dr. Neil McKeganey, had this to say about the study results:
"These results cast doubt on claims of a link between the increased popularity of ecigarettes, their ensuing visibility when used in public, and any resulting increase in the desire to smoke tobacco among young people."
While it’s hardly shocking that teenagers and young adults are much smarter and resistant to peer pressure than regulators think they are, it will take many similar studies to lift bans currently in place on vaping. In July 2016, Public Health England published guidelines for employers and organisations which suggested not lumping together vapers and smokers in the same smoking areas, as vaping is different from smoking. While PHE wasn’t suggesting that everyone should start vaping at their desks, they did suggest a separate break room or area for vapers.
The most important finding of the study was that there was zero correlation in the study participant’s minds between tobacco cigarettes and ecigarettes. Since they see them as completely different items, ecigarettes don’t have the effect of encouraging them – or anyone really – to smoke.