Reports which have suggested US teenagers that use e-cigs are more likely to start smoking have been slammed by doctors and public health experts.
The distrusted study examined the activity of 300 teenagers, not of which had smoked in the last year. 150 had vaped before, 150 hadn’t.
After one year, the research found that e-cig users were six-times more likely to start smoking. The rather contrived report was published on Monday.
However, leading tobacco experts have leapt to defend e-cigs and have accused the report of being misrepresentative of its conclusions and full of problems.
The study was aimed at teenagers who had simply just tried an e-cig, not at full time vapers. Theoretically, this could mean that half of the survey, which are labelled vapers, could have only ever puffed on an e-cig one time.
This hardly suggests a link, as there’s no suggestion a fully-fledged vaper could be drawn into smoking cigarettes.
Ann McNeill, Professor at King’s College London, said that the tobacco sales decline among teens shows that teenagers are not being swayed towards cigarettes.
“This suggests e-cigarettes are actually helping young people not to smoke tobacco cigarettes (something this study did not even consider),” said McNeill.
Peter Hajek, director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London, joined McNeill by criticising the erroneous study.
“The authors misinterpret their findings. Like several previous studies of this type, this one just shows that people who try things, try things.”
“To assess whether e-cigarette experimentation by adolescents encourages smoking, one has to examine whether an increase in e-cigarette experimentation is accompanied by an increase in smoking on the population level,” Hajek added.
“Such data are available and they show that as e-cigarette experimentation increased, smoking rates in young people have gone down. In fact, the decline in youth smoking over the past few years has been faster than ever before.”
However, it does seem that the vaping community, despite the support of many UK-based doctors, is facing pressure in the US, as most e-cig products will face federal review by the FDA. It has been mused that this could wipe out 99% of e-cig products currently on the market.