Last week The Scotsman published an article, quoting a dubious study from the USA that correlates vaping and trying traditional tobacco. The study stated that 40% of young people who tried an electronic cigarette went on to try a combustible cigarette.
Professor Linda Bauld from Cancer Research UK has hit out at the article, saying that the newspaper completely misinterpreted the study:
“This study doesn’t prove that trying vaping caused young people to smoke, and the authors of the research were careful to point that out in their article.”
She went on to explain that the study was vague and could not determine if these young people would have tried smoking anyway and if they actually went on to be fully fledged smokers.
The ‘Gateway theory’ is periodically rolled out by the media, with anti-vaping articles attempting to push the idea that people who try vaping will start smoking. Despite being disproved by several articles, that ripple remains. Smoking rates around the world continue to decline, this fall just happens to coincide with the growing popularity of vaping.
Professor Bauld states:
“When e-cigarettes began to become popular, around 2010, 13 per cent of 15 year-olds in Scotland were smokers. By 2015, this figure was now down to 7 per cent, and is just 2 per cent in 13-year olds. If e-cigarettes were causing tobacco use in young people, these trends would be reversed.”
This decline doesn’t just apply to youngsters, the amount of adult smokers in the UK has fallen from 17.2% in 2015, to 15.8% in 2016 and is continuing to fall.
There is still research to be carried out about vaping, but several studies are already pointing to the fact that electronic cigarettes are a viable harm reduction solution and should not be discounted. Public Health England stated that vaping is 95% safer than smoking, even so a majority of the general public remain unaware of this fact that’s to consistent bad press.
Professor Bauld concluded by saying:
“Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of cancer, and kills more people in Scotland than anything else we can prevent. We must do everything we can to help smokers to stop. That includes being clear about the evidence on e-cigarettes. To do otherwise may cost lives”