Can Vaping Be Gateway to Smoking?
Although vaping was created to help smokers kick their habit, it’s become a pastime in and of itself. Many teens and young adults who never smoked began vaping because of its enjoyable experience. From tasty flavors to cloud chasing, attraction to the hobby has become prominent among youth, in most cases overshadowing the use of tobacco.
Vape skeptics around the world, using the aforementioned example, have begun to claim that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking, rather than a way to stop tobacco use.
Though it’s impossible to analyze every individual case, as every person’s situation is different, vaping as a gateway to smoking has been heavily researched.. According to public health professionals at the University of Buffalo and the University of Michigan, “national trends in vaping and cigarette smoking do not support the argument that vaping is leading to smoking.” Lynn Kozlowski, author of the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, who’s also a professor of community health and health behavior at the University of Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions, has done extensive research into the case of vaping as a gateway product. His findings indicate that as vaping increases, overall smoking rates decreases.
A study at the University of Connecticut also found that the introduction of e-cigarette flavorings among current smokers decreased their smoking rates. Basically, when people get to vape their favorite flavors, they choose to stay away from the harshness of tobacco.
As Kozlowski’s research continued, he wanted to understand what caused the belief that vaping was a gateway to smoking, since there’s very little evidence that people who vape and have never used tobacco products will eventually begin smoking. He, along with co-author Kenneth Warner, found many cases that supported the idea of gateway vaping used misleading measures for what smoking is to support their case. “Measures of at least one puff in the past six months,” don’t prove someone is a smoker, but most studies used these results to prove their point. Warner points out that the studies were never designed to analyze smoking intensity at a later date.
Another concern for many skeptics was the content of e-juice flavoring, as people were fearful that the nicotine in the e-juice of young vapers would lead them to pick up cigarettes. While it’s possible that the introduction of nicotine to a person’s body may lead to an interest in cigarettes, vapers generally tend to stick with vaping as their way to access nicotine.
Still, this didn’t satisfy the concerns of parents. In response to continued worry, Kozlowski and Warner reference a national survey from 2015 of eighth through twelfth graders by the University of Michigan. The results showed that only 20 percent of the students using e-cigarettes reported their liquid contained nicotine.
“The evidence from the prospective studies are weak at best,” says Warner. “All that it demonstrates is that there is a connection between kids who vape and further experimentation with smoking. But we know that these kids are different from those who do not vape. Even if there is a small gateway effect, it is totally swamped by the overall trend toward less and less smoking.”
In simpler terms, while there may exist a tiny relation between youth who smoke and youth who vape, most of those who vape are keeping away from cigarettes, rather than moving toward them – if anything, a teen who’s willing to experiment with one is likely willing to experiment with the other. And those who stick with either are most likely to vape with zero nicotine. Regardless of the reasons and methods youth use to vape, at Breazy we remain firmly committed to adhering to any and all age-restriction laws existing in the various regions where our products are sold.
There still exists a need focus on the potential risks of vaping, even without nicotine present. People deserve accurate information to create their opinions on the health risks of vaping and smoking. Today, the best evidence has proven that vaping is far less dangerous than cigarettes. But, due to misleading measures and information, many people have found themselves confused.
While it still isn’t safe to make any concrete claims, Kozlowski and Warner’s research, as well as other studies at University of Connecticut and Michigan, have strongly suggested that vaping isn’t a gateway to smoking.