Vaping and tobacco cravings

Could vaping trigger real tobacco cravings?

Published On February 9, 2017 | By Nicole | About E-Cigarettes Articles

According to an article that was recently published on, vaping could be just as likely to trigger real tobacco cravings for smokers as cigarette use itself.

These facts are based on a study that was recently conducted by Chicago University. The findings were published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, and were derived from a study involving 108 volunteers.

The article also mentions that some are concerned that these findings could also improve the stance of the ‘gateway effect’ argument… but is all of this true? Or could this be another false-alarm fueled by the largely unfounded ‘vaping paranoia’ that has been running rampant in the world (especially in places like the United States)?

Here’s what you need to know.

The facts

The study involved 108 volunteers who were already smokers. They ranged from light smokers to smokers who went through a pack of cigarettes a day. Their ages were 18 to 35, and the study basically measured how long the volunteers would hold out when exposed to the ‘trigger’ of seeing someone smoke vs. how long they would hold out when they saw someone vape on an E-cig.

The statistics showed that there was no real difference between the two. The study seemed to show that seeing someone vaping was just as likely to trigger the desire to smoke among the smokers as seeing someone smoke.

The article even makes reference to the gateway affect in the following quote…

“Although the 18 to 35-year-olds in the study who were influenced by e-cigarettes already smoked, the findings also raise concerns about a ‘gateway effect’ encouraging people who smoke to vape as well.”

There is obviously more to the story in terms of the specific study details – but these are the major points.

So, with that being said, what is really going on here?

Reference to the gateway affect seems unfounded and dramatic

Granted, the fact that vaping might trigger similar desires in smokers as seeing someone smoking is an important detail that should not be overlooked. Vaping is, after all, a nicotine delivery system that (at least at first) was designed to emulate the effects of a real cigarette without exposing the user to the same risks and dangers.

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So it’s not really all that surprising that smokers would be ‘triggered’ to want to smoke after watching someone vape, because they are likely associating the action of ‘vaping’ with their need for nicotine. Nicotine addiction is a very real phenomenon – and whether you smoke or vape, you can still become dependent on it.

Granted, vaping makes it easier to wean yourself off of it… and vaping is much safer than cigarette use – but still, it can be a tough habit to kick.

But this study does nothing (in our opinion) to further the belief in the gateway affect where vaping is concerned. All of the participants already smoked, which meant that all of them not only used nicotine on a regular basis, but that all of them also got their nicotine, at least in part, through the use of cigarettes.


The study does make at least a little bit of a case for the fear that vaping could possibly play a role in triggering ex-smokers to return to smoking – but that is a little bit different from triggering non-smokers to take up smoking.

In truth, kicking cigarettes is the entire idea behind vaping! Or at least – it used to be. But despite this, electronic cigarettes are becoming more and more difficult to obtain for the people who need them the most, which is largely due to government regulation (again, see the United States and the mess that they have on their hands where E-cig regulation is concerned).

If people had an E-cig to reach for instead of a cigarette, then the whole idea is that they might reach for that instead of buying more cigarettes – and in doing so, live a longer, healthier, happier life – because E-cigs have so far been consistently shown to be much safer.

Hopefully, the medical community around the world will get even more on-board with the idea of vaping, and will make decisions that will allow the devices to help instead of hindering their progress or spreading even more paranoia.

Nicotine use is a real thing – and if there are not alternatives that people like to use, then cigarettes will continue to be a bigger problem than they need to be.

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About The Author

Nicole It's my passion to do the research about familiar to me topics, especially when it comes to electronic cigarettes and the whole vaping industry as such. I hope you will find my content useful and when / if you do - please do share it! I will appreciate it! :) See our ''Who We Are'' page to find out more about me and my colleagues. Thanks and I look forward to your comments and feedback.

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