Is It A Gateway?
While the concerns about young children and teenagers vaping continue increasing, we have not seen convincing evidence that he use of e-cigarettes has led to more British children to take up cigarettes or regard smoking as normal. Many health experts and anti-smoking groups have stated publicly that the growth of e-cigarettes might see young people romanticizing the idea of smoking. While I agree that we do not want young people smoking, I’m not sure that we have enough proof that vaping is or could be a real problem.
One study led by Cardiff University researchers tells us that the number of teenagers who said they had tried smoking or thought it was acceptable to smoke has continued to fall despite the rise in e-cigarette use. That can’t be all bad, surely.
Published in the journal Tobacco Control, the study examined data from England, Wales and Scotland. Their findings were that from 1998 to 2015, the percentage of children aged between 13 and 15 who had smoked actually decreased from sixty percent to nineteen percent. This is good news and the same study showed that regular smokers in the same age group fell from nineteen percent to five percent.
Perhaps there is just a natural trend toward people trying to improve their health and way of life, because the report also told us that during the same period, both alcohol and cannabis use significantly declined. We have seen that Vaping is more than twice as effective as gum to help smokers quit.
United Kingdom Studies
he research which was funded by National Institute for Health Research and conducted in collaboration with academics from Edinburgh, Stirling, Glasgow and Bristol, focused on three national surveys based on answers provided by almost 250,000 young people.
“These findings suggest that fears over a resurgence in youth tobacco smoking because of the rise in e-cigarette use are largely unfounded to date, says Dr Graham Moore. Dr Moore is based at the Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement. He continued to add, “The nature of e-cigarettes, and the landscape in which they are sold and used, continue to change rapidly, and we need to continue to keep a close eye on how they affect young people. However, this study demonstrates the success of public health efforts in reducing smoking among young people in the last 20 years and provides no evidence that e-cigarettes are reversing this.”
While E-cigarette experimentation is very popular with young people who may have not previously used tobacco, although regular use of e-cigarettes by young people remains rare, the report also added.
Other professionals such as Prof Linda Bauld, from the University of Edinburgh, added: “Teenagers across Great Britain were trying e-cigarettes during the period when they were unregulated, and recent data suggests that these trends have continued up to the present day. But the findings of this study show that youth tobacco smoking has nevertheless continued to decline.” Which as you can see isn’t really the same as vaping leading these kids to smoke as the anti-vaping groups would like you to believe.
However, the Welsh government was so concerned about the idea of e-cigarettes normalising smoking that in 2016, it tried to bring in legislation banning them from enclosed public places where children are likely to be present. Opponents claimed a ban could discourage smokers from switching to vaping to try to kick the habit, and the ban did not come into force.
The tobacco control campaign group Ash Wales believes e-cigarettes have a crucial role to play in reducing smoking. Ash Wales’ CEO, Suzanne Cass, said, “We welcome the results of the study and hope this will strengthen the case for e-cigarettes to be considered a highly effective smoking cessation tool and a far safer alternative to smoking tobacco, rather than the first step to becoming a smoker.”
We here at Medusa Juice certainly believe that’s not only possible, but probable. We have been in this business for some years now and have seen time and time again how much easier it is for those people trying to quit smoking succeed by vaping.
Director of the smokers’ group Forest, Simon Clark, had this to say: “The study shows there is nothing to fear from the growth of vaping. He added, “The results support our view that government should ease restrictions on e-cigarette advertising. It’s time too for local authorities to lead by example and lift restrictions on the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace and other public areas. Young people’s negative views on smoking also suggest the health risks are very well understood. Now they need to be taught about choice and personal responsibility so when they are adults they can make informed decisions without unnecessary state intervention.”
While ‘the unknown’ can lead to a cacophony of questions within their young minds and for many, e-cigarettes are an unknown quantity bearing various alarm bells. Questions, hearsay, and myths are part and parcel of any industry in its infancy. So, we need to keep in mind that due to the nature of e-cigarettes as a nicotine delivery system, suspicion hangs in the air like a thick rain cloud waiting to dump its contents all over. Fueled by the recent media coverage, one of the more popular conspiracy theories circulating the myth trail, is that e-cigs are appealing to kids and therefore they provide a gateway to smoking cigarettes.
Campaigns where the branding utilizes catchy or outrageous names are quite common and they’re used to gain attention to the product. This is part of marketing a product and it’s not only the e-liquid manufacturers who use it. You can find Gnarly sounding concoctions of flavoured e-liquids, and electronic vaporizer devices complete with multi-coloured LED-lit touch screens everywhere you look. These sort of associations with vaping can provide easy fodder for those claiming that kids will be attracted to vaping. Not everyone believes that all children are attracted to these things any more than all adults are. However, I digress. Children are curious, and they’re looking for a way into adulthood and to find their place in the world, like most us, if we’re honest.
And with most things, like experimenting with any of life’s choices, there will inevitably be a handful of naughty kids seeking the thrill of doing something they’re not supposed to be doing, such as using e-cigarettes. We’re human and it’s in our nature. However, to suggest that the minority of youths vaping may be tempted to smoke cigarettes is a far cry from reality, with the number of youth smoking in the United Kingdom steadily and progressively declining since 1996, it would suggest that the opposite is true. Fortunately, those who are aware of the dangers that smoking present is increasing, if not universally accepted.
Yes, kids have a naturally adventurous disposition when it comes to discovering life’s intricacies and inventions, but it seems unfair to focus on the possibility of kids smoking because of vaping when it seems inconceivable to ask the same question of an adult. Do you know any adults who have started smoking because they vaped? I certainly do not. This is where information is so vital and Medusa Juice knows that and encourages everyone to investigate for themselves. We’ll also continue keeping you abreast of the latest news and changes in the vaping community.
According to publications from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) there is data which shows us that the number of kids (11-18 years old) who do use e-cigarettes in the United Kingdom are relatively few and far between. Of the 2,971 surveyed, regular use of e-cigarettes was 2%. That is extremely low and frankly, I wonder how we ever got on this kick to begin with, of saying that kids will smoke if they vape.
Also, we know now that the number of youths who had experimented with e-cigs was also low with 12% of those surveyed saying that they had vaped once or twice. The study also found that the kids that do vape regularly already smoke tobacco cigarettes. So, yes, you read that right, kids who have been smoking already do try vaping, not the other way around.
Contrary then to what many would like to believe, rather than vaping providing a gateway for kids to start smoking, it’s e-cigarettes that provide smokers with a healthier alternative to smoking. Which is what we’ve been saying all along. That if you want to stop smoking, vaping is your best alternative and it can get you off of tobacco cigarettes. I know, because I’ve seen it work countless times and with myself too.
The latest surveys show that number of Vapers in the United Kingdom is to be just over three million with many more joining the journey to become smoke-free every day. If you know someone in doubt about the benefits that vaping can afford to those that smoke, share the good news and help dispel some myths. Medusa Juice is here to help you in whatever way you need. Call or stop in one of their convenient shops today.