Study that links E-cig use to teen smoking
New study that links E-cig use to teen smoking gets slammed by doctors
A common theme among those who don’t support E-cigs seems to be the belief that E-cigs, in some way, will contribute to higher levels of smoking among teenagers.
There have been a number of studies done on this – but a study that claims to have successfully proven that high schoolers who use E-cigs are ‘six times more likely to smoke than those who’d never used E-cigs’ is now being bashed by doctors and public health experts as ‘misleading’.
Here are the details.
The details of the study
The study, which was published in the Journal of Pediatrics not too long ago, followed 300 high school students for one years. This group had never smoked before, but half of them said that they had used an E-cig before.
Basically, the study concluded by saying that, after one year, those who had tried E-cigs were six times more likely to smoke than those who had never vaped – but many doctors and health experts are calling foul on the study, saying that it’s misleading.
Here’s a quote from the study’s lead author, Jessica Barrington-Trimis.
“These findings suggest that e-cigarette use may promote smoking during the transition to adulthood… The increase in e-cigarette use, which may be followed by increases in cigarette use, could result in an erosion of the progress that has been made over the last several decades in tobacco control.”
But tobacco experts are saying otherwise. According to many of them, the paper is full of holes. In fact, it seems that the findings are questionable at best – especially when you take into account what some of the evidence is really saying.
As Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction at King’s College, London, put it…
“The authors seem to argue that trying one puff of an e-cigarette caused some young people to try tobacco smoking within the next 16 months.”
Why doesn’t the evidence add up?
There seems to be some sort of correlation between the two (vaping and trying cigarettes) – but to say that people who try E-cigs are more likely to smoke certainly isn’t warranted based on the evidence collected in this study. If that were the case, then smoking rates would be going up along with E-cig use. But instead, as E-cigs get more and more popular, analog cigarette use continues to decline.
This actually draws a much different conclusion. This evidence actually suggests that E-cigs are helping the problem. But this study doesn’t even seem to take that into account.
The Director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University, whose name is Peter Hajek, put it very clearly in the following statement…
“The authors misinterpret their findings… Like several previous studies of this type, this one just shows that people who try things, try things.”
What do we think about this study?
We certainly try to take a stance that’s scientific when it comes to matters such as this. But not every published study proves what the researchers claim that it proves. In order to prove that E-cigs make teens more likely to smoke, additional evidence needs to be presented.
But we also tend to believe that this will never happen – because all of the evidence seems to point in the opposite direction. With all of the current studies being taken into account, most people (including health experts) seem to agree that E-cigs are much less harmful than tobacco products. They also agree that, as of right now, there seems to be no ‘meaningful link’ between e-cig use and people taking up tobacco as a new habit.
The truth is that electronic cigarettes can be a safer and more affordable alternative for people who are addicted to nicotine – and that makes E-cigs a part of the solution… not a part of the problem.
If E-cigs were making the tobacco problem worse, then wouldn’t we be seeing an increase in smoking rates?