New research has suggested that e-cigarettes are acting as a “roadblock” to cigarettes among young people.

Scots experts have found that the majority of young people said that using an e-cig has reduced the prospect of themselves and others turning to tobacco.

The research, which was presented at a major tobacco conference in Poland, has backed the doctors who doubted the study that said e-cig users are six-times more likely to start smoking.

“There was very little indication amongst the young people interviewed that e-cigarettes were resulting in an increased likelihood of young people smoking,” said Dr Neil McKeganey from the Centre for Substance Use Research in Glasgow.

“In fact the majority we interviewed, including those who were vaping, perceived smoking in very negative terms and saw vaping as being entirely different to smoking.”

Most survey participants, which included current and former smokers, e-cig users and non-smokers, said they consider tobacco to be “extremely harmful” and believe e-cigarettes are a safer alternative.

And with good reason, too. The Royal College of Physicians recently endorsed e-cigs, and recommended offering them to those trying to quit smoking.

Dr McKeganey added: “What was apparent is that this persistent view, expressed by some young people, that vaping was just as harmful as smoking, was resulting in some young people continuing to smoke when they might otherwise have quit.”

“But what was equally clear from our research is that the much debated ‘gateway’ theory is not materialising. There was nothing to suggest that youngsters see vaping as a stepping stone to smoking – quite the opposite.”