New Report Indicates Youth Vaping Isn’t Leading To Increased Smokers
The research by YouGov strongly suggests e-cigarettes aren’t acting as a gateway to smoking.
The public perception of vaping has been a contentious battle for almost as long as modern vaping has been around. You don’t have to look very far to find vastly different opinions on the harm reduction and smoking cessation value of vaping. Unfortunately, despite a growing pile of peer-reviewed evidence, the majority of people still believe vaping is acting as a gateway to a lifetime of smoking. Luckily a new report commissioned by Action on Smoking and Health just proved these concerns are misguided.
The debate over vaping has begun to reach a boiling point, with both sides becoming increasingly dug in. Supporters celebrate the news, saying it vindicates their belief and helps improve public health. Meanwhile, critics of vaping still believe teens are being negatively impacted by the rise of e-cigarettes. So as the battle wages on, only time will tell if anything comes from this latest report. However, some experts are optimistic the momentum is beginning to shift.
New YouGov Report
The report was commissioned by Action on Smoking and Health and conducted by researchers with YouGov. With all the misinformation circulating these days, the team wanted to understand the full relationship between teenage vaping and smoking better. While the report found teenage vaping has only dropped slightly since last year, 16% down to 15.4%, they also highlighted some crucial comparisons which could indicate more important trends. For instance, their research strongly suggests vaping is not a gateway to smoking. The overwhelming majority of non-smoking teens (87.8%) have never used an e-cigarette, while another 6.0% is actually unaware of them at all. Only 5.5% of non-smoking teens reported ever using a vape, while not a single non-smoking participant had begun vaping daily.
The report also shed some light on another common fear among parents of non-smokers, that vaping attracts teens by being “cool.” Researchers concluded the vast majority of non-smoking participants only tried vaping to experiment, with only 0.5% saying it was because they thought it made them look cool. Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health, Deborah Arnott, said of the report, “Smoking prevalence among children and young adults in Britain has fallen substantially since 2010, which doesn’t indicate that vaping has been a gateway into smoking.” The study also shed some light on where teens are getting their vapes. According to the report, 61.9% of teens say they buy their own vaping products (44.4% in store vs. 24.5% online), while 35.2% said they were given their e-cigarettes, most commonly from friends (24.5%).
Is Vaping Worth It?
This new also report suggests public perception of vaping is on the decline, even among young people. Back in 2015, 21% of teens incorrectly thought vaping is just as dangerous as smoking. Unfortunately, that number has risen to 30% over the last four years despite more and more independent evidence. All the way back in 2015 we first found out vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking thanks to Public Health England, but even just a few months back we’ve gotten similar results. For instance, a report by Roswell Park Cancer Institute concluded the toxicants in cigarette smoke are 93% higher than vaping. More impressively, reports indicate the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is around 57,000 times lower than smokers with similar backgrounds.
If you look past the harm reduction value, you still find a lot to love about vaporizers. In fact, we have other reports which also suggest vaping isn’t a gateway to smoking. A report of over 60,000 teens concluded only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever using a vaporizer more than a couple times. It makes some sense when you consider the report out of the University of Louisville which tested all the most common smoking cessation tools and methods before determining vaping is the single most likely to succeed.
Anytime we get new research which indicates vaping has essential value, it’s a cause for celebration. Far too many people still believe vaping is just as, if not more dangerous than smoking despite all the research we’ve gotten over the years. If we don’t work on improving public perception now, it may only be a matter of time before the vaping industry in America is unrecognizable. That’s why we must work to teach all the smokers in our lives about what making a switch to vaping could mean for their health. It’s especially important we advocate the harm reduction and smoking cessation of vaping, now more than ever.
Are you excited about the latest results? Do you think reports like these will have a significant impact on public policy? What’s the best way to teach others about the value of vaping? Let us know what you think down below, and don’t forget to check back here or on Facebook and Twitter for more news and articles like this.